Administration of pentavalent vaccine in the state should be stopped immediately, leader of opposition V.S.Achuthanandan demanded Tuesday.
This vaccine provides protection to children from five life threatening diseases - diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, hepatitis B and haemophilus influenza type b (HiB).
The former Kerala chief minister said here that ever since the statewide campaign to administer this vaccine started in December 2011, 18 infant deaths have been reported till now.
"When this was introduced, the general impression given was that this was safe and had no side effects, but the first child to receive this vaccine at a state hospital here during the state wide launch of the vaccine died 20 hours after the vaccine was administered," added Achuthanandan.
He added that when this vaccine was launched globally, there was a controversy over its commercial interests.
"A probe should be launched to find out the interests here and why it was administered. Moreover, the government should compensate the families who lost their children after they took this vaccine," added Achuthanandan.
Incidentally, Kerala became the first state in the country to introduce pentavalent vaccine in its immunisation programme Dec 14, 2011.
At the time of the launch the state health department had said that this vaccine has been used in the private sector for many years and it was found to be the safest one.