Suspected botched vaccination claims four infants in Assam

October 22nd, 2008 - 8:50 pm ICT by IANS  

Guwahati, Oct 22 (IANS) Four infants have died and at least eight have taken ill in western Assam in what appears to be a case of botched vaccination, parents and locals said though the state government Wednesday denied the charge and ordered a probe.The four infants, aged between nine-and-a-half to 11 months, died in Baksa district almost immediately after they were administered measles vaccines in four health centres in the area.

“It is true that four deaths have occurred but we can say it is not due to the administration of the measles vaccine. The same batch of vaccines are being used elsewhere in Assam as part of the all-India Measles vaccination drive,” Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said.

He said the matter was being investigated to ascertain the cause of the deaths.

“The babies frothed at the mouth, shivered and then collapsed, almost immediately after they were administered the vaccine,” an activist said, requesting anonymity.

Pediatricians said the vaccine was unlikely to be the cause of death.

“An investigation is needed if the administration of the vaccine was done correctly and things like that,” said Gyanan Sharma of the Gauhati Medical College.

A central health ministry team headed by Sunil Khaparde, deputy commissioner of immunization, will arrive here Thursday to investigate the matter.

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