Hep-B vaccine drive a farce, claims PEEM

      TIMES NEWS NETWORK  [ WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 13, 2002 02:00:00 AM ]
      HYDERABAD: All children suffering from the side-effects of the hepatitis-B vaccination campaign in the state must be compensated by Bill Gates, founder of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The hepatitis-B campaign in the state is a farce and unnecessary. This was the contention of People for Economical and Effective Medicare (PEEM) chairman Dr P V R Bhaskar Rao at a press conference here on Tuesday.

      It was well-known that there are adverse effects of the vaccine. The US Congress, having accepted this, has included the vaccine in the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Programme in August 1998, Dr Rao said.

      Further, he said in the United States, authorities no longer advocate that all newborns be vaccinated against hepatitis-B unless they are born to infected mothers.

      Despite this, the state government has no compensation policy for victims suffering from adverse effects of the vaccine, no registry of the children the vaccine has been administered on, no studies about the effectiveness of the vaccine in the state and no information education and communication (IEC) activities carried out, Dr Rao said.

      PEEM representatives also appealed to all parents of children who have received the vaccine to claim for a damage of Rs 25 lakh if the child has any side-effects from the Gates foundation. According to the National Vaccination Information Centre (NVIC) report, the protective effect of the vaccine was still unknown, PEEM vice chairman Dr K Venugopal said.

      Further, the Federal Drug Authority (FDA) has reported that between 1994 and 1998, a total of 23,000 cases of adverse effects due to the vaccine. The PEEM said Bill Gates, his foundation and the state government were using children of the state as guinea pigs.