Bengaluru, Jan 17 (IANS): The probe into the deaths of three babies after measles-rubella (MR) vaccination in Belagavi district of Karnataka has revealed that the nurse had obtained the vaccination vials one day earlier from the pharmacist and had kept them in a hotel fridge along with food items, violating all protocols.
This led to bacterial infection and after the administration of these vaccines the three babies died due to ‘aseptic shock syndrome’. Two deaths were reported after being vaccinated at Bochagala camp on January 12 while one death was reported from Mallapura camp on January 11. As many as 17 babies were vaccinated at Bochagala and four babies had received shots at Mallapura in Ramdurg taluk. Two girls, one 18 months old and the other 12 months old are recovering in hospitals.
Pavithra Halagur, a 13-month-old baby girl died on the same day after being administered the first dose after developing nausea and vomiting a few hours after vaccination. Umesh Karagundi, a 14-month-old child, though shifted to the Belagavi Institute of Medical Sciences (BIMS), had convulsions in the ICU and died on January 15. Chetana, a 15-month-old baby who got the shot in Mallapura camp also died on the same day.
Children below the age of 15 months are given the first dose against MR and above 15 months are given a second dose.
Karnataka Health Minister K. Sudhakar stated on Monday that directions have been given to immediately suspend nurse Salm and pharmacist Jayaram. He said he had ordered another probe into the incident and directions have been given to submit the report within two days.
Dr Eshwar Gadad, District Immunization Officer of Belagavi, stated that as per the protocol the vaccination vials have to be taken from the primary health centre (PHC) to the vaccination camps and they should be returned to the PHC. “Nurse Salma should not have carried them and kept them in a hotel fridge. All vials obtained by her have been taken back and sent for tests. This is an unfortunate incident. The department has taken care of it and parents can come forward for vaccination of their babies,” he said.
The utter negligence of the health worker is said to be the reason for the tragedy, according to the district authorities.