Hek, DC allay MR vaccine fears

SHILLONG/TURA: The state government as well as the West Garo Hills district administration on Thursday denied reports that a five-year-old child died due to Measles-Rubella (MR) vaccination.
While the district administration appealed to parents to not pay heed to “negative rumours”, Health and Family Welfare Minister AL Hek reiterated that the cause of the death was aspiration pneumonia with suspected septicaemia.
The minister’s statement comes a day after a health official clarified that the death was not due to vaccination.
Hek said the child had a history of recurrent respiratory illness for which local medication was given.
“The patient complained of abdominal pain followed by vomiting. Post vomiting patient became cyanosed, the breathlessness worsened and the patient expired at 6.25 am on October 9,” he added.
West Garo Hills Deputy commissioner Ram Singh also clarified on the death saying over 4 lakh children in the state, including 61,903 in West Garo Hills, have already been safely vaccinated.
Dwelling on the case of the five year old boy from Amingokgre village under Dadenggre civil sub-division, Singh said after receiving information about the death, a District AEFI Committee meeting was held and a team of doctors, DIO, World Health Organisation consultant visited the family to ascertain the facts.
After detailed discussion with the parents and other members of the family it was found that four children (including the deceased), who are under 15 years of age, from the same family were vaccinated on October 1 at a nearby school along with 140 other children.
“All other children, including the three from the family, are completely normal. The particular child was completely normal after vaccination,” said Singh and clarified that it was only two days later that the child developed fever and swelling around face which the medical team attributed to any other infection for which the doctor at Dadenggre CHC gave medications with an advice to review two days later. According to the deputy commissioner who based his statement on the medical team’s report, the parents did not return to the hospital even though the child started having other complaints such as pain in the abdomen, vomiting and unable to take food for three days.
“From the preliminary investigation, there is no relationship of the child’s death with the MR vaccination. It is a mere coincidence. The parents of the deceased child also stated that,” said Singh as he appealed to parents not to get swayed by “negative rumours” and ensure their child get MR vaccinated through the current programme.

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