One more infant, who had been administered measles vaccine in Damoh on March 12, died on Sunday, taking the toll up to four.
State health minister Anup Mishra ordered immediate suspension of district vaccination officer Dr Anupam Kulshreshta and arrested one after preliminary inquiries indicated that the deaths were caused due to delayed administration of the vaccine.
LHV Vaccination Centre’s S Nair and Auxiliary Nurse Midwife (ANM) Durga Tiwari have also been suspended. Tiwari has also been arrested for her negligent role in the matter.
The latest casualty was Karnika, who was administered the vaccine at Aanganwadi centre number nine. State health secretary S R Mohanty told HT that prima facie the deaths occurred as the mishandled the measles vaccines.
“She not only broke the cold chain by not maintaining the vaccine’s temperature between two to eight degrees centigrade but also carried it in a water bottle later and administered it after seven-eight hours of creating the mixture,” Mohanty said, adding, “The vaccine must be administered within three-four hours of creating the mixture under proper cold chain.”
State health director Dr A N Mittal said that the delay in administering the vaccine to around 15 children appeared to have resulted in a toxic reaction causing the death of four and hospitalisation of 11 children in Damoh and Jabalpur. The children in the hospitals are now out of danger, the director said.
Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has announced a compensation of Rs one lakh for families of deceased.