A day after 11-month-old, Rohit Shelke succumbed to a ‘vaccine derived polio virus’ (VDPV) type P2 at a Latur hospital, the state health department swung into action to trace children who have missed their regular oral polio vaccinations (OPV) as prescribed by the World Health Organisation.
Shelke died on Saturday afternoon.
On Sunday, a meeting of senior district level health officials was called by Dr V Rokade, incharge of the vaccination programme at the Directorate of Health Services, to discuss the cause of Shelke’s death.
Health department officials have, however, clarified that the case does not pose a problem for India’s polio-free status.
“The child was not immunised properly.
He took the first dose when he was one-and-a-half months old and the second dose when he about seven months old.
Owing to the gap between the two doses of OPV vaccination, the child failed to develop proper immunity against the virus,” said Dr Rokade, who added that the health department had instructed workers to closely monitor immunisation of children below five years.
“Children at large are not at threat of contracting polio and the case is not a threat to the country’s efforts towards being polio-free,” Dr Rokade said.
State health officials said Shelke’s parents are migrant workers and hence local health workers were unable to monitor the child’s immunisation.
Experts said the oral polio vaccine contains live virus and tends to develop what is called ‘vaccine associated paralytic polio’ and VDPV - the condition which the Latur death.
“The live virus in OPV at times can adversely interact with a set of viruses in children’s intestines,” Dr Nitin Shah, past president, Indian Academy of Paediatricians.