The Supreme Court on Monday sought response from the Centre on a PIL seeking its direction to ban use of pentavalent vaccine, which prevents diseases like Hepatitis-B and diphtheria in children.
A bench headed by Chief Justice P Sathasivam issued notice to the Centre on a plea of senior doctor Yogesh Jain who alleged that the vaccine has serious side-effects on children causing death of 21 minors so far in the country.
The bench asked the government to file its response within four weeks.
Senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, appearing for the petitioner, pleaded that the use of vaccine should be stopped in the country as it has already been banned in various countries including the US, Japan, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and others.
The petitioner sought a ban on the pentavalent vaccine which provides combined immunity against tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis, Hepatitis-B and H influenza-B or Hib.
The vaccine was first introduced in Tamil Nadu and Kerala in 2011 and 21 children, who were administered with it, have died so far in India, the petitioner said.
On May 4, this year, the Ministry of Health of Vietnam suspended Quinvaxem, the pentavalent combination used in that country, after 12 deaths and nine other non-fatal serious adverse events, he said. Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Pakistan have also stopped using the vaccine following unexplained deaths soon after immunization, he alleged.