The World Health Organisation (WHO) has dispatched experts to Vietnam to investigate the alleged serious side-effects of Quinvaxem—a 5-in-1 vaccine for children—following some suspected deaths in the country, according to Radio the Voice of Vietnam (VOV) website.

The vaccine, administered to children, is a preventative inoculation against diphtheria, tetanus, B. pertussis (whooping cough), hepatitis B, and H. influenza Type B.

Quinvaxem is manufactured by the Berna Biotech Korea Corporation and was licensed for use in Vietnam’s expanded national immunisation programme sponsored by the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI).

Since June 2010, Vietnam has imported 16.2 million doses of Quinvaxem, 15.2 million doses of which have already been distributed.

Local media reports that since November 2012, nine children have died after receiving Quinvaxem vaccinations.

In an urgent dispatch dated May 4, the Ministry of Health’s Drug Administration asked health centres across the country to suspend the use of Quinvaxem until WHO releases its final investigation conclusions.

Batches of Quinvaxem have also been sent to the UK for further testing.

VOV quoted a ministry representative as saying that the Quinvaxem suspension will not affect other vaccines under the expanded national immunisation programme.-VNA