BEIJING, Dec. 27 (Xinhua) -- The World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday expressed concern over recent infant deaths in China that were linked to hepatitis B vaccination, saying it will support the government's investigation into the cases.
At least 12 deaths have been reported since November after infants were vaccinated with hepatitis B shots produced by different companies in China. Health authorities are focusing on Shenzhen drug manufacturer BioKangtai, whose vaccines have been associated with most of the infant deaths.
The WHO supports China's decision to temporarily suspend use of the hepatitis B vaccine from the vaccine maker and investigate the cases, according to a statement from the organization's website.
"These deaths are very unfortunate, but the rapid reporting and investigation of the government speaks to the strength of the health and drug regulatory system to identify adverse events quickly and take action to prevent additional problems," said Dr. Bernhard Schwartlander, WHO Representative in China.