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Children given Hepatitis B vaccine instead of polio drops

Staff Reporter
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Children, who were mistakenly given Hepatitis B vaccines orally, being treated at a local hospital at Arambagh in West Bengal on Monday.— Photo: PTI
Children, who were mistakenly given Hepatitis B vaccines orally, being treated at a local hospital at Arambagh in West Bengal on Monday.— Photo: PTI

Four State health workers have been suspended for administering Hepatitis B vaccines orally instead of pulse polio immunisation drops to 57 children on Sunday. The incident occurred at Khatul village in the Arambagh sub-division of the State’s Hooghly district.

The West Bengal Human Rights Commission took suo motu cognisance of the incident on Monday and sought a report from the State government.

Justice (retd.) N. C. Seal and S. N. Roy, both members of the commission, directed the Chief Medical Officer of Health, Hooghly, to file a report within three weeks.

“The children who had to be hospitalised have been discharged and the situation is totally under control,” District Magistrate Manmeet Nanda told The Hindu .

B. R..Satpathy, the director of the State Health Services, said 57 children were administered the Hepatitis B vaccine, which is not supposed to be taken orally.

“There is no harmful effect of the vaccine but giving Hepatitis B vaccine instead of pulse polio immunisation drops is neither acceptable nor desirable,” he said.

Dr. Satpathy said it was a clear case of negligence on the part of the heath workers. He said Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has directed strong action against those responsible for the mix-up.

Dr. Satpathy said 14 children who were given the right vaccine were also hospitalised by their parents out of panic. He said all the children have been discharged .

“Though the children have been discharged from the hospital, we have decided to send medical teams door-to-door for the next two days for the satisfaction of the people,” Mr. Nanda said.

There was panic in the area when people got to know of the incident. Villagers held up senior district officials including the Sub-Divisional Officer of Arambagh, who rushed to the spot to pacify them on Sunday.


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