Action will be taken against those found guilty after final report comes, says Azad

The Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry on Monday sent another team to Lucknow to probe the death of four infants who died reportedly after being administered vaccines during an immunisation drive on Saturday.

One team is already stationed there since Sunday. The two teams have picked up samples of the vaccines administered and sent these to the Central Research Institute at Kasauli for testing.

“The final report will come shortly following which action would be taken against those found guilty of negligence,” Health and Family Welfare Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad told journalists here.

The teams would ascertain whether the vaccines administered were spurious or expired; or whether there was a procedural lapse while giving the shots by auxiliary nurse midwives or if the cold chain was well-maintained. There was still no clarity about whether the vaccines given were those of anti-measles, BCG or Hepatitis B.

Initially, it was said that three deaths had occurred due to the anti-measles vaccine and one death due to the BCG shot. Then it was said the children were given BCG vaccine instead of anti-measles, and it was also said that the shots were pentavalent vaccines given during a pilot project under the universal immunisation programme. All these questions would be answered once the enquiry was completed, the Minister said, adding there was an internationally prescribed procedure to be followed during vaccination.

The deaths took place in the Mohanlal Ganj area of Lucknow. Soon after being given the vaccine, the infants — all under nine months — felt breathless, started sweating and rapidly lost their pulse. They died even before medical help could reach them. The State government has already discontinued the drive, suspended five people, including the medical officer, and ordered a departmental and magisterial enquiry.

Compensation

A compensation of Rs. 50,000 each has been given to the families of those killed and a first information report was lodged.

More In: National | News