4 infants die after vaccine shots, 17 ill

BHOPAL: Four infants aged below two years died and 17 children fell ill after they were administered an anti-measles and tetanus vaccine at Anganwadi centres in Damoh town, in Madhya Pradesh.

 Around 20 infants were administered the vaccine at two Anganwadi centres in Damoh on Friday afternoon. By Sunday afternoon, four of these infants were dead while the others had been admitted to a local hospital in a critical condition. Preliminary investigation by district health officials revealed that the tragedy was caused due to the negligence of a nurse.

 The district administration has suspended all vaccination programmes and instructed health officials to stop further immunization until the investigation into the incident was complete. Samples from the vaccines administered to the infants have been sent for examination to New Delhi. Chief medical and health officer Dr DK Shrivastava said that the “cold-chain or sub-zero temperature under which the vaccine has to be stored seemed to have been ignored or broken”. A district hospital nurse, responsible for supply of the vaccines to the Anganwadi workers, has been booked for negligence and destruction of evidence.

 According to SP DK Arya, the nurse had taken vaccines home in a thermos flask and stored it overnight in her refrigerator. Next day she brought back the flask and distributed the vaccines to the Anganwadi workers.

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