Infants fall ill in Bengal after vaccine goof-up

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Hooghly/New Delhi
  • |
  • Updated: Sep 17, 2013 01:53 IST

The Pulse Polio programme went wrong in West Bengal on Sunday when 57 children fell ill after being given injectable hepatitis B vaccine orally instead of polio drops.

An inquiry committee has been set up and chief minister Mamata Banerjee, who also holds the health portfolio, has asked for the report by Tuesday.

The mishap occurred at Goghat, in Hooghly district. Two of the children started vomiting immediately after being given the vaccine. And when the mistake was discovered, parents tried to induce vomiting in others. All were examined sent home by evening.

“We have suspended four health officials monitoring the centre,” said BR Sathpaty, director of health services.

“The Hepatitis B vaccine is an inactivated vaccine. In it, the disease-causing organisms have been killed. It has no side effects. If administered orally, at the worst, it can make children vomit,” said Dr Naveen Thakkar, vaccine expert and former president of the Indian Academy of Paediatrics. “Children who were wrongly given the Hepatitis B vaccine can have their polio drops safely,” added Thakkar.

 

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