Nepal suspends import of A/H1N1 flu vaccines following reports of complications

13:29, September 05, 2010      

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Nepali government has suspended the import and use of over 2.7 million pandemrix vaccines manufactured by a global company for protecting people from influenza - A/H1N1, generally known as swine flu.

According to Sunday's Republica daily, the Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) decided to immediately suspend import of pandemrix vaccines on the basis of its intra-ministry technical panel's recommendations following reports of complications.

Some A/H1N1 flu patients have reportedly suffered symptoms of neurolepsy disease after receiving pandemrix vaccines manufactured by the GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) -- a global pharmaceutical firm -- in some European countries.

"We will import pandemrix vaccines only if the World Health Organization (WHO)'s investigation clearly reveals that GSK's vaccines do not have anything to do with neurolepsy symptoms," said Dr Laxmi Raj Pathak, spokesperson at the MoHP.

According to Dr Pathak, WHO has already constituted a committee to investigate the possibility of pandemrix vaccines' complications in A/H1N1 flu patients.

In the Netherlands, the UK and Sweden, according to Dr Pathak, some A/H1N1 flu patients, who received GSK-pandemrix vaccines, have suffered numbness while moving hands, legs and tongues. However, it is yet to be proved by independent investigation that the numbness in A/H1N1 patients was a side-effect of GSK-pandemrix vaccines.

Avian Influenza Control Project at the Department of Health Services was set to administer pandemrix vaccines to 2.7 million people -- approximately 10 percent of the total population -- within three months from September.



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