A three-month-old baby girl died on Wednesday, hours after she was administered a dose of pentavalent vaccine at a Chennai Corporation health post in Otteri.
According to Otteri police, Ramarao of Mettupalayam had taken his daughter Tanujasree to the health centre in Vadima Nagar around 9.30 a.m, along with his wife, for her second dose of pentavalent vaccine.
The staff at the health post administered the injection to 17 infants, including Tanujasree, on Wednesday.
After returning home, Tanujasree became restless and began crying. By 11.30 a.m., the infant lost consciousness following which her parents rushed her back to the health post.
The staff there checked the child and informed her parents that she was in a serious condition. Ramarao and his wife rushed their baby girl to the Institute of Child Health in Egmore where she failed to respond to treatment and died a few hours later.
When contacted, Chennai Corporation officials said the cause of the infant’s death would be known only after a post-mortem was conducted on Thursday.
Family welfare officials suspect that the child could have died due to feeding aspiration — a condition when food or fluid accidentally enters the lungs resulting in choking.
Following standard procedure, Tanujasree was kept under observation for an hour after vaccination. Upon reaching home, she was breastfed at 11.15 a.m., about two hours after immunisation. Her condition deteriorated after that, officials said. They also cited two key reasons for their conclusion that pentavalent vaccine is not the cause of death.
“From the same vial, 16 other babies were immunised. The same batch of vaccine has been used to immunise many babies in the city. This is a tried-and-tested vaccine and there is no need for panic,” an official said.
Pentavalent vaccine protects children from diphtheria, pertussis, hepatitis B, tetanus and Hib (Haemophilus influenzae type b). It is a new addition to the immunisation programme in the country and is administered to children at 6, 10 and 14 weeks of age.
The government introduced the vaccine in the State last December.