Central team probes measles vaccine deaths in TN

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Chennai, Apr 25 (UNI) A high-level Central team, led by National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) Director Shivlal, arrived here today and conducted an on-the-spot investigation into various aspects of administration of measles vaccine which killed four ten-month-old babies on Wednesday.

The team comprising experts including Dr Nitin, Microbiologist, National Institute of Virology, Pune, Dr Uma Chawla, Joint Director, NICD, Dr Salhan, Assistant Director General of NICD, Dr Shokey and Director of Public Health, Dr P Padmanaban, went to the victims' houses and conducted a detailed inquiry.

The experts went to the Primary Health Centres (PHC) where the vaccine was administered to the children and grilled the duty doctors, nurses and other staff.

They also checked the stock register, cold storage and the laboratory at the PHC.

Officials said the team would also examine the entire batch of measles vaccine procured from the Hyderabad-based laboratory.

After consulting with the State Health Department, the team was expected to submit a detailed report to the Centre tomorrow.

The babies died within minutes of being administered an anti-measles vaccine at two medical camps in Tamil Nadu's Thiruvallur District on Wednesday.

While three girl babies died at the PHC in Pennalurpettai Village, about 75 km from here, the fourth, a baby boy, died after getting the shot at Venkatapuram Village near Tiruttani, 35 km from Thiruvallur.

The Public Health Department, as part of its drive on Wednesday, had sent field staff to villages.

The village health nurses and nursing assistants first vaccinated pregnant women and then started administering the vaccine to babies.

Each vial of vaccine contained five doses of 0.5 cc each. At the Pennalurpettai Centre, doses were administered to three babies from the same vial. All the three died.

About 130 vials of the same batch were distributed across the district and 252 children immunised, but no complication was reported from other centres.

Immunisation of 78 other children in the district using vaccines manufactured by another laboratory went incident-free.

The state administration suspended two public health nurses as well as the measles immunisation programme across the State in the aftermath.

UNI XR-SNR GL AS1527

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