Death of infants after MR vaccine in Belagavi: Probe finds lapses by health worker

Team Udayavani, Jan 17, 2022, 4:41 PM IST

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Belagavi: The negligence by health workers to follow proper sanitation procedures led to the tragic deaths of 3 infants in Belagavi after Measles-Rubella (MR) vaccination, the probe into the incident revealed.

Following the probe, a government health worker has been suspended, IANS reported.

Karnataka Health Minister K. Sudhakar stated on Monday that directions have been given to immediately suspend nurse Salma 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.

The health worker who inoculated the babies at Anganwadi center in Ramdurg taluk of Belagavi district had allegedly not taken aseptic or surgically sterile measures which led to the deaths. Children below the age of 15 months are given the first dose against MR and above 15 months are given the second dose.

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’, IANS reported.

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 was quoted as saying by IANS.

At least two deaths were reported after vaccination at Bochagala camp on January 12 and one from Mallapura on January 11. As many as 17 babies were vaccinated at Bochagala camp and four babies had received shots at Mallapura camp in Ramdurg taluk. The utter negligence of the health worker is said to be the reason for the tragedy, according to district authorities.

Pavithra Halagur, a 13-month-old baby girl died on the same day after being administered the first dose of MR vaccination. She developed nausea and vomiting a few hours after inoculation. Umesh Karagundi, a 14-month-old child, though shifted to Belagavi Institute of Medical Sciences (BIMS), developed convulsion in ICU and died on January 15. Chetana, a 15-month-old baby who got the shot in Mallapura camp also died the same day on January 11.

The district authorities maintained that a detailed probe is underway and it will reveal the exact cause of deaths and nature of negligence. The action has been taken on the findings of the preliminary probe.

Belagavi District Health Officer Dr S.V. Munyal said that the guilty will be punished without any mercy regarding the incident. There is a committee to look into the adverse effects of vaccination. The samples of blood, excreta of babies have been sent to the laboratory and the report will give a clearer picture. Apart from this, the department is also conducting an investigation.

(With inputs from IANS)

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