children in low income countries has concluded that females had higher mortality
rates than males, and higher mortality rates than non-vaccinated
In the study funded by the EU, March of Dimes, and the Danish National Research Foundation, 2320 low birth
weight new-born children were studied in groups of early and later vaccination of DTP (diphtheria-tetanus-pertissis) and BCG (Bacille Calmette-Guerin). Two thirds of the children received DTP at two months and 50 deaths occurred between the 2 month and 6 month visits. The report concluded that surprisingly, even though the children with the best nutritional status were vaccinated early, the early vaccination was associated with increased mortality for girls.
Previous studies from several low-income African countries have suggested that inactivated vaccines, including DTP may have non-specific negative effects for the survival of girls.
This study also concluded that there was no increased risk for male subjects with higher nutritional status and girls had a threefold higher mortality between 2 and 6 months of age. However the report does trigger some interesting debate points, such as why the current policy of DTP vaccinations in low income African countries is in contradiction to this and many other studies?
The study suggests that “The inconsistency between the evidence and current policy is unacceptable. The Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety has indicated that it will monitor the non-specific effects of vaccines, but also asserted that compelling evidence from observational studies is unlikely. No official initiative has been taken to resolve the contradictions. Given the implications of the negative non-specific effects of DTP for girls, randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of delaying DTP seem justified. The working group on the non-specific effects of vaccines came to similar conclusions, and has ranked an RCT of DTP as a high priority.