‘Most post-immunisation deaths coincidental’
The death of three-month-old Megha Devkari last week within hours of vaccination is the third case of post-immunisation death in the city this year.mumbai Updated: May 15, 2012 01:27 IST
The death of three-month-old Megha Devkari last week within hours of vaccination is the third case of post-immunisation death in the city this year. After a clean slate in 2011, when not a single case of immunisation-related death was recorded in the city, the civic body has reported three deaths till May this year. In February, two toddlers also died allegedly after being administered with DPT (diphtheria, whooping cough and tetanus), oral polio vaccine (OPV) and Hepatitis B vaccines.
In 2010, the civic body had reported two post-immunisation deaths in Mumbai.
However, state records have revealed that the number of children allegedly dying after immunisation has dipped to 14 last year, from 26 in 2010. This year, nine deaths have been reported in Maharashtra till date.
According to the Adverse Effect Following Immunisation (AEFI) committee that studied post-immunisation deaths in detail to arrive at an accurate conclusion, only four of the 26 deaths in 2010 were a result of vaccine reaction. Of the 14 post-immunisation deaths in 2011, though seven have been discussed in the AEFI committee meetings, only one death has been attributed to a vaccine reaction.
"Majority of post-immunisation deaths fall under the coincidental category," said Dr VM Kulkarni, in-charge of immunisation in the Directorate of Health Services. "If children suffering from congenital anomalies and other conditions die post immunisation, it cannot be blamed on the vaccination."
Kulkarni added: "Sometimes, they are already suffering from pre-existing illness and the vaccination only becomes a medium of death, but it is not the cause." Doctors said a few deaths should not be a deterrent for parents given that as many as two crore vaccine doses are administered annually to more than 20 lakh children.