James Topham
March 7, 2011

Japan’s health ministry has halted the use of vaccines made by Pfizer Inc and Sanofi-Aventis SA to prevent meningitis and pneumonia following the deaths of four children.

The infants died shortly after receiving the vaccines and while it was unclear if there was link between the deaths and vaccines, use of Pfizer’s Prevenar and Sanofi’s ActHIB will be suspended while the deaths are investigated, the ministry said in a statement.

A ministry safety panel is scheduled to discuss findings in the investigations on Tuesday.

In February last year health authorities in the Netherlands said no relation was found between Prevenar and the deaths of three infants who had received the vaccine.

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