Govt responsible for infants' death in Assam

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Guwahati, Oct 23: A day after four infants died in Assam's Baksa district following pox vaccination, general public staged protest against the government at Nimua PHC where the incident took place. However, the government claimed of using proper and genuine medicines.

Hundreds of people assembled in front of Nimua PHC since morning and shouted anti-government slogans. The effigy of state Health Minister Dr Himanta Biswa Sharma was also burned.

A Central Health department team is expected to arrive for investigating into the matter, after a doctors' team had rushed to the place immediately from Guwahati yesterday, with top pediatricians maintaining that death after vaccination was a highly unnatural.

Meanwhile, vaccination at all neighbouring centres was stopped after the incident, though no other reports of any casualty were reported from any other centre, except for the six sub-centres under Nimua.

Former state Health Minister Dr Kamala Kalita today alleged that the vaccine was contaminated with toxic substances and demanded that the Health Minister Dr Sharma should accept the responsibility.

He also pointed that the vaccines were procured from a little-known company, while the normal practise was to buy immunization medicines from internationally reputed groups.

Altogether four infants, aged between nine and eleven months, died and eight fell sick after being administered pox vaccine at Nimua primary health centre (PHC) in Salbari area of the district.

After vaccination, the children vomited and fell unconscious within half-an-hour and four of them.

The vaccination drive was part of an all-India campaign against pox and measles, with the state Health department sources claiming that spurious medicines could not be the cause.

Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, condoling the deaths, had immediately ordered additional Chief Secretary PP Verma to conduct a probe into the matter and submit a report at the earliest.

Mr Gogoi also announced ex-gratia of Rs one lakh to the families of the deceased.

Baksa deputy commissioner informed that the aggrieved parents and local people staged a demonstration at Nimua PHC, demanding a probe into the incident.

He informed that other infants, who fell sick, were out-of-danger and some of them had been released from hospital.


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