No connection found between vaccinations and Japanese deaths

A Japanese health ministry panel of experts has found no direct connection between vaccines made by Sanofi-Aventis SA and Pfizer Inc. and the deaths of four children, though further safety checks of the vaccine manufacturers will be required.

Japan currently has a suspension on the vaccines that prevent pneumonia and meningitis that were created by the two companies. The use of Pfizer’s Prevenar and Sanofi’s ActHIB vaccines has not been halted in other countries due to a lack of safety concerns elsewhere, according to Reuters.

A similar case in February 2010 found that there was no relation between Prevenar and the deaths of three infants who had received the vaccine. Three of the children who died in Japan were given ActHIB together with Prevenar, Reuters reports. Three of the four children also received a mixed vaccine against whooping cough, diphtheria and tetanus on the same day.

Three of the four children died the following day. All four deaths occurred between March 2 and march 4. Company representatives have said that both Pfizer and Sanofi have been cooperating in the investigation.

According to spokespeople for the two companies, Sanofi has shipped over three million doses of ActHIB in Japan since 2008 and Pfizer has distributed more than two million doses of Prevenar since last year, Reuters reports.