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Times of India
17 September 2010
By Shailvee Sharda
Lucknow, India

Death of infants in Ghaziabad and that of a newborn in Ghazipur district kept the health department officials on their toes on Thursday. All three deaths were linked with vaccination. While a newborn died within 24 hours of receiving BCG shot in Ghazipur, twin-sisters died in Ghaziabad after getting measles vaccines at a private nursing home.

More Infant Deaths Linked With Vaccines Rattle Health Department
Director general, medical health, Dr SP Ram maintains that health department is answerable in connection with the incident in Ghazipur. In this regard, he said, "prima facie it does not appear to be a case of adverse event following vaccination. Still, I have asked the chief medical officer of the district to submit a report in this regard." About the mishap in Ghaziabad, he said, "this did not happen in a government health sector so what can I say about it."

In Ghazipur, a couple from Rehuna village of Jamunia area lost their newborn son within 24 hours of receiving polio drops and BCG vaccine. Finding their child dead on Thursday morning parents associated the death with vaccines. Infuriated over this, relatives of the couple created a ruckus in the government hospital. They were, however, not ready for the post-mortem examination of the newborn.

As per reports, the child was born healthy through a normal delivery on Tuesday afternoon. Was administered the polio drops on Wednesday morning and was fine. He was given a BCG shot in the afternoon following which he developed mild fever like most children. He was seen by the paediatrician in the evening who said that he was fine.

Baby’s mother Renu Pandey got anxious realising that the baby was not taking the milk. Initially she thought that the boy was sleeping and made attempts to wake him up. Seeing no change, they took him to the doctor who declared the boy dead.

CMO, Ghazipur, Dr PK Singh, however, believes that the exact cause of the death may not be ascertained. "He was healthy and there seems to be nothing wrong with the vaccine. Infection could have caused the death but that could have been established if the parents allowed us to undertake post-mortem examination," he said.

On the possibility of something being wrong with the vaccines, Dr Singh said that there were two more children who got the BCG shots from the same vial.

"The same batch is being used to immunise at least 20-25 children every day. There is no adverse event so we cannot blame the vaccine," he said.

In Ghaziabad, nine-monthold sisters Avika and Anika died at died reportedly within an hour of receiving measles vaccine shots at Divya nursing home of Shastrinagar area on Wednesday night. Seeing both the girls dying without any ailment, parents and attendants lost their cool and targeted the nursing home.

Later they also lodged an FIR against the nursing home with Kavinagar police station alleging that the children died due to negligence on the part of the staff.

"When they saw that Avika’s condition deteriorated within a few minutes of receiving the vaccine shot why did they administer the same to my other daughter?" questioned the father Sunil Sharma. He also claimed that the nursing home staff tried to snatch away the immunisation card from him and raised doubts that if nothing was wrong what prompted them to behave like this. On their part, owner of the nursing home, Dr Satyaveer Singh, however, rubbished the charges of negligence. He pinned the blame on the vaccine instead.

When contacted, CMO, Ghaziabad Dr AK Dhawan claimed that he had gone to the spot after hearing about the incident.

But when he reached there, he found that representatives from the Union health ministry and drug controller of India was already there.

"The team collected samples of the vial from the same batch and seized the empty vial which was used for the girls besides the disposables. It is learnt that the samples have been sent to Central Research Institute, Kasauli for testing," he said.

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