Vaccine fiasco: CM announces solatium to parents of victims

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Chennai, Apr 24 (UNI) Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi today announced a solatium of Rs three lakh each to the parents of four 10-month-old infants, who died immediately after they were administered measles vaccine yesterday.

He expressed grief over the deaths and announced the assistance, totalling Rs 12 lakhs, from the Chief Minister's relief fund.

Earlier, replying to a special call attention motion given notice of by members of various political parties on the deaths, Health Minister M R K Panneerselvam, quoting preliminary investigations, said the babies had died due to anaphylactic shock.

He said soon after the incident, to identify the exact reason for the deaths, the immunisation programme was stopped and the remaining medicines and the water used to convert the vaccine in powder form into liquid form, were sent to the Central Laboratory in Himachal Pradesh.

Since the medicines for the immunisation programme was procured by the Centre, it was informed of this and a Central team was visiting the State to study the situation.

Observing that four nurses were placed under suspension, Mr Panneerselvam said about 276 children below one year of age were adminitered the vaccine in Tiruvallur district and more than 20,000 children covered across the state. ''All those who were given measles vaccine are safe'', he added.

The minister said the drug was manufactured by Human Biological Institute, Hyderabad.

Earlier, speaking on the motion, members of various political parties urged the government to ascertain the exact reason for the deaths and take stringent action against those responsible for this.

They also urged the government to provide liberal compensation to the affected families.

However, Mr Hari of the Opposition AIADMK demanded the resignation of Mr Panneerselvam owning moral responsibility for the incident.

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