Government stops measles vaccine use after four deaths

April 24th, 2008 - 10:02 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Anbumani Ramadoss

New Delhi, April 24 (IANS) The central government Thursday asked all states to stop administering anti-measles vaccine, which is alleged to have killed four infants who were given the shots at two medical camps in Tamil Nadu Wednesday. This decision was taken at an emergency meeting Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss held here with officials.

“All state governments have been directed to stop the use of the measles vaccine manufactured by the Indian Immunological Ltd until further orders,” Ramadoss told reporters here.

Indian Immunological Ltd, is a wholly owned subsidiary of the public sector National Diary Development Board.

The health ministry has already dispatched a team to enquire into the cause of deaths of the four children in Thiruvallur district of Tamil Nadu.

The team has been asked to assess the quality of the vaccine and try to probe its distribution and administration methods. The team will also probe any human error that might have caused the four infants’ deaths.

The experts, comprising members of the Indian Council of Medical Research, National Institute of Communicable Diseases, Directorate General of Health Services and Drug Controller General of India, will also check the quality of vaccine, the status of the cold chain and quality of diluents.

The experts of the National Polio Surveillance Project (NPSP) of World Health Organization (WHO) have already been deputed to Tamil Nadu to assist the state government officials, the ministry officials said.

The samples of the anti-measles vaccine manufactured and supplied by the company have been sent to the Central Drugs Laboratory in Kasauli for quality testing, the officials said.

The officials said after getting the report of the team, further action would be taken.

The ministry had placed an order of nine million units of the anti-measles vaccine with the company, of which nearly 4.5 million units were supplied.

The emergency meeting here was attended by top officials, including Health Secretary Naresh Dayal, Director General of Health Services (DGHS) R.K. Srivastava and Director of National Institute of Communicable Diseases Shiv Lal.

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