Both said to have died of aspiration

Two of the 218 children, who were given polio vaccine on Sunday, died in two different villages of Theni and Dindigul districts in the State. Health department officials, however, said the deaths were not caused by the vaccine.

Eleven-month-old Meena of Jakkama Naickenpettai village in V.S. Kottai Panchayat in Dindigul district died two hours after vaccination. An enquiry with the child’s parents, Ilaya Raja and Chitra Devi, by Deputy Director of Health Services S. Soundammal revealed that Chitra had put Meena in a crib immediately after feeding, causing the child to aspirate, according to the health officials. Dr. Soundammal said 61 other children were administered polio drops in the same primary health centre and were in good health.

A team of doctors examined all other children in the village to allay fears, said Joint Director of Health Service C. Subramaniam.

In Manjalar dam residential area of Theni district, 16-month-old Dharshith Pandi was reported to have died within an hour of vaccination.

The police sent the body to Periyakulam Government Hospital for post-mortem, which revealed that Dharshith aspirated on the ‘vadai’ he had been fed. “Another girl was also administered the vaccine from the same vial that was used to vaccinate Meena and she is doing fine,” said Director of Public Health, K. Kolandaisamy. In Manjalar, 155 other children were immunised at the centre and they were in good health.

“Meena’s parents refused permission for post-mortem as the mother was aware of the cause of death. Had there been a suspicion of foul play, an autopsy could have been conducted,” he said.