By: Jacob Puliyel
27 October 2010
Developing countries must spend their budgets wisely to save as many lives as possible.
Your article about anti-vaccination scares “spilling over into the developing world, where they are threatening to derail global vaccination programmes” failed to present a balanced view of the situation (Why fear of vaccination is spelling disaster in the developing world, G2, 12 October).
The article states that “Indian lobbying groups, led by opposition politicians, still claim that Hib [Haemophilus influenzae] vaccines are not only unnecessary, but have caused a number of deaths” and that the Indian government’s decision to re-examine their usefulness is putting lives at risk. I am a member of the Indian government’s National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation, and I know of no politician in the opposition that is leading any lobbying group against vaccines. For a vaccine to be introduced into the national immunisation programme, it must reduce the disease burden sufficiently to justify its costs. Unfortunately, Hib does not fit that bill in Asia. Repeatedly, Asian studies have shown there was no reduction in meningitis or pneumonia among those who received the vaccine.
(Note from SaneVax: The first line of this story says it all. Every country in the world should take the statement to heart. If a vaccine is not Safe, Affordable, Necessary and Effective, it should not be purchased.)