Health Ministry sends team to probe vaccination deaths by Aarti Dhar
The team will ascertain whether the vaccines were spurious or there were procedural lapses
It will probe whether Auxiliary Nurse-Midwives were trained to administer the vaccine
The Centre has sent a two-member team to Lucknow to probe the deaths of four infants after they were administered anti-measles vaccination at an immunisation camp in the Mohanlal Ganj area.
“Most stringent action will be taken against those found guilty,” Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said on Sunday. The team is expected to submit a preliminary report the same day.
The deaths took place on Saturday, following which the immunisation drive was suspended by the Uttar Pradesh government and a departmental enquiry ordered.
The Central team will ascertain whether the vaccines were spurious, expired or whether there were procedural lapses, either while administering the shots or in maintaining the cold chain.
A magisterial probe is also on.
The State government announced a compensation of Rs. 50,000 each to the families of the infants killed.
The shots were given by the Auxiliary Nurse-Midwives (ANM).
The team will investigate whether the ANMs in this case were trained to do so, since anti-measles vaccination is administered only to children over nine months old.
The dead infants were less than four months old. Within minutes of being given the shots, the children became breathless, started sweating and their pulse rate dropped.
They died before medical help arrived.
The three ANMs, the medical officer and the person in-charge of maintaining the cold chain have already been placed under suspension.
The shots were combination vaccines for measles, BCG and Hepatitis-B, administered under the universal immunisation programme.
The Hindu, 23 August, 2010, http://www.hindu.com/2010/08/23/stories/2010082359530100.htm
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