JINAN, Dec. 31 (Xinhua) -- Two more newborn babies have died after hepatitis B vaccinations in east China's Shandong Province, the provincial center for disease control and prevention said on Tuesday.
The two cases were in Tancheng and Juancheng counties, the center said.
Local health authorities have suspended use of the vaccines associated with the deaths.
The center also received a phone call from parents of a newborn in Pingyuan county saying that their child died in October after a hepatitis B vaccination. Local health authorities in Dezhou claim that the case involves a medical dispute and the lawsuit lodged by the parents is still underway.
At least a dozen newborns have died nationwide after receiving shots against Hepatitis B, arousing widespread concern over the safety of vaccines in China.
Vaccination has been a key part of a successful national strategy to combat viral hepatitis in China, with the practice encouraged by the World Health Organization.
The vaccination for newborns is taken in three stages. The first shot must be taken immediately after birth. The second and third shots of the vaccine are taken after a baby is one month and then six months old, respectively.