Japan lets Pfizer, Sanofi resume shot sales

Japan has lifted the suspension on two childhood vaccines from Pfizer and Sanofi-Aventis. Regulators said the companies can start selling their Prevnar and ActHIB shots again after a safety probe into the deaths of five children given at least one of the vaccines.

The Japanese authorities suspended use of the two vaccines to allow for that probe, but even after an expert panel quickly concluded the deaths weren't linked to the vaccines, the government did not lift the suspension.

Both shots are commonly used in countries around the world. Pfizer's Prevnar, sold in Japan as Prevenar, is designed to protect children against meningitis and pneumonia, while Sanofi's ActHIB works to prevent infection with Haemophilus influenzae type b. The companies said Japan's decision to lift the suspension clears the shots of suspicion in the deaths.

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