The Department of Health-Central Visayas regional office maintained the deaths of two infants in Lapu-Lapu City, shortly after receiving pentavalent shots, were not caused by the vaccine.

Parents of the two unrelated babies are insisting they died because of the vaccine, even when their death certificates stated otherwise. The four-month old baby died of meningitis, while the cause of death of the three-month old victim was listed as dehydration.

Both received shots at the Barangay Pajac Health Center on November 8 and were reported to have died three days later.

The four-month-old reportedly became weak and was febrile after receiving the shots, while the second infant experienced diarrhoea, vomiting and high fever.

The former's mother alleged the vaccine dose may have been too much or it was already expired.

But Lapu-Lapu City health officer Dr Rodolfo Berame said the vaccine will only be expiring on June 30, 2018 and that 90 other children were immunized on the same day.

Further, the community doctor explained that a pre- and post-conference on the immunization programme is conducted prior to the activity so parents fully understand what the vaccines do and what side effects may be experienced after.

The pentavalent vaccine provides protection against five life-threatening diseases namely, diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, Hepatitis B and hemophilus influenza.

Both infacts died of pre-existing illness, the health agency's regional office said, stressing that the pentavalent vaccine "had nothing to do with it."

"The cause of death of those patients could not have been the immunization given," DOH Region 7 Director Dr Jaime Bernadas was quoted as saying.

He explained the three-year-old was admitted to the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center on November 10, with a diagnosis of pneumonia and hypovolemic shock, secondary AGE with severe dehydration.

The second infant was admitted a day after, with a diagnosis of status epilepticus, most likely secondary to T/C bacterial meningitis.

Also, both children's conditions were already worse by the time they were brought to the hospital," VSMMC's Department of Pediatrics head Dr Ramon Najarro said.

"Unfortunately, despite all our efforts the condition continued to deteriorate to the point the patient finaly succumbed," he was quoted as saying.

Director Bernadas pointed out that parents or guardians are informed of the benefits and side effects of the Expanded Program of Immunization. He reiterated that immunizations are safe for children. DOH-Central has been supplying the region with vaccines since 2013 and no death was ever reported. MIMS

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