Nurse, other officials suspended for negligence

The nurse apparently broke the protocol for preserving vaccines

20 children were vaccinated, 16 fell ill

Bhopal: Four babies died and 16 were taken ill after being administered anti-measles shots at a government health centre in Madhya Pradesh's Damoh district on Saturday, officials said on Sunday. A nurse has been arrested on charges of negligence and two others suspended.

“The district vaccination programme in-charge Anupam Kulshetra and vaccine depot in-charge Saraswati Nayak and Durga Tiwari have been suspended,” the official said. The action came after Madhya Pradesh Health Department Director A.N. Mittal reached Damoh and inquired into the matter. “The negligence of the nurse, Durga Tiwari, who supplied the vaccines to the Anganwadi, has been found to be the cause behind the tragedy and she has been arrested by the police on charges of negligence and destroying evidence,” he said.

The victims were identified as Arti Thakur, Gaurav Vishvakarma, Roshni Gond and Pinki Arman Vishwakarma. The parents of the victims said the babies started frothing at the mouth and nose, turned blue, and died within 12 hours of being given the vaccine. In all, 20 children were given the vaccine.

“While the post-mortem examination reports of the infants reveal that they died of toxic shock syndrome, a rare and unforeseen snag following measles vaccination, it seems that the protocol for the cold chain for preserving vaccines was broken,” Mr. Shrivastav said. “The nurse apparently took the vaccines home in a thermo flask, stored it in refrigerator overnight before bringing it back for distribution the next day,” he said.

The samples of the vaccines have been sealed and sent to New Delhi for examination and the vaccination programme has been suspended till the reports come in, Damoh Police Superintendent D.K. Arya said. Damoh District Collector R.A. Aggarwal said: “Investigations have been launched to ascertain the cause of the three children's death. Further action will be taken after the report comes in.”

The government has announced assistance of Rs.10,000 each to the affected families and Rs.1 lakh each for the families of the deceased. –IANS