DIPAYAL: Four infants between nine and 14 months have died within 24 hours after they were administered measles and DPT vaccines at a village in Doti district.
The parents of the deceased said their children showed signs of pallor and vomited profusely a few hours after receiving the vaccinations, but district health officials said it was too early to conclude that the deaths were linked to the vaccines.
Senior Public Health Officer at District Health Office Mahendra Dhowj Adhikari informed that the four infants were administered vaccines at the Deuledanda vaccination centre by health personnel from Kadamandau Sub-health post on Sunday.
The deceased have been identified as Hira Damai’s 14-month-old son Milan, Suntali Nepali’s one-year-old daughter Sujata, Indari Chiral’s nine-month-old daughter Gauri and Pashupati BK’s 10-month-old daughter Manju. While Manju, Milan and Sujata were administered measles vaccine, Gauri was vaccinated against DPT (diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus).
Suntali, mother of one of the deceased, complained that her daughter’s body and face had started swelling a few hours after receiving the injection. “She vomited continuously and turned pale.”
“It has not been established whether the vaccines had anything to do with the deaths,” said Ramswartha Yadav, supervisor of the health camp in Sanagaun, where the children were vaccinated. “If there were indeed a connection between the deaths and the vaccines, then other children would have also shown similar symptoms, why only four?”
Dr Sandip Shrestha of District Health Office said the there might have been some negligence on the part of the health workers while preparing the vaccine. “We have started an investigation into the incident,” he added. Health workers said the vaccines were to be administered within six hours after they were taken out of storage.
The health office stated that the campaign was being conducted in the whole district, but complaints were not reported from other places. Maternal health worker Amrita Bogati, who had administered the vaccines, could not be reached.
Kin demands probe
DOTI: At midday on Monday, maternity health worker Amrita Bogati came to Uttam Chiral’s home to administer vaccines to children. She gave a measles vaccine to my one-year-old niece Gauri. After a few hours, Gauri started vomiting and showed signs of diarrhoea. Her condition had deteriorated till the evening. “I had heard that it was normal for children to have fever after receiving a vaccine. But, unfortunately, she passed away at around 9 pm. I suspect my niece’s death is linked to the vaccine,” says Chiral. A team from the district headquarters arrived on Tuesday. It has not spoken about the connection between the deaths and the vaccination programme. “I urge the government to launch a probe into the incident,” Chiral told THT. —