Published in ‘Japan Today’
The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare decided Friday to suspend administering two types of publicly subsidized vaccines as four children recently died after receiving them, notifying municipal governments of the decision, ministry sources said.
The two types are the Hib vaccine to prevent bacterial meningitis and a vaccine to protect against streptococcus pneumoniae.
There have been no reports so far from the doctors who treated the children establishing the causal relationship between the vaccines and their deaths, according to the ministry.
But the ministry is planning to hold a meeting of an expert panel early next week after consulting with other doctors to closely examine the cases, the sources said. The ministry is expected to resume the vaccinations should the panel decide that the two vaccines do not pose serious safety concerns.
The four were a 3-month-old girl in Kawasaki, Kanagawa Prefecture, who died Feb. 20, a 2-year-old boy in Takarazuka, Hyogo Prefecture, who died Tuesday, a 1-year-old girl in Nishinomiya, also in Hyogo, who died Wednesday, and a 6-month-old girl in Kyoto City, who died Friday.