Three infants died and 17 were taken ill after they were given anti-measles shots in a government health centre in Madhya Pradesh's Damoh district, officials said on Sunday. A nurse has been booked for negligence.
Three children, aged between 2 to 12 months - died and 17 fell ill on Saturday after being given the vaccine in Damoh town, nearly 300 km from Bhopal, Chief Medical and Health Officer D.K. Shrivastav said.
Two of the 17 ill are said to be in critical condition.
He added that a nurse of the 'anganwadi' (health centre) has been booked on charges of negligence and destroying evidence.
"The negligence of the nurse who supplied the vaccines to the Anganwadi has been found to be the cause behind the tragedy," Shrivastav said.
The victims were identified as Arti Thakur, Gaurav Vishvakarma and Roshni Gond.
The parents of the children who died said the babies started frothing from the mouth and nose, turned blue and died within 12 hours of being given the vaccine. In all, 20 children were administered the vaccine.
"While the post-mortem reports of infants who died 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," 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 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."