Days after three children died in Karnataka‚Äôs Belagavi district after being administered the measles-rubella (MR) vaccine on January 11 allegedly due to improper measures taken during vaccination, two health workers, a nurse and a pharmacist, have been suspended. Karnataka Health Minister K Sudhakar stated on Monday, January 17, that directions have been given to immediately suspend nurse Salma and pharmacist Jayaram. He said he had ordered another probe into the incident and directions have been given to submit the report within two days.
A preliminary probe into the death of the three babies had revealed that negligence on the part of a health worker was the reason for the tragedy. The probe into the deaths of the three babies has reportedly revealed that the nurse had obtained the vaccination vials one day earlier from the pharmacist and had kept them in a hotel fridge, violating protocols, according to IANS.
Dr Eshwar Gadad, District Immunisation Officer of Belagavi, stated that as per the protocol, the vaccination vials have to be taken from the primary health centre (PHC) to the vaccination camps and they should be returned to the PHC. "Nurse Salma should not have carried them and kept them in a hotel fridge. All vials obtained by her have been taken back and sent for tests. This is an unfortunate incident. The department has taken care of it and parents can come forward for vaccination of their babies," he said.
Two deaths of babies were reported after being vaccinated at Bochagala camp on January 12 while one death was reported from Mallapura camp on January 11. As many as 17 babies were vaccinated at Bochagala and four babies had received shots at Mallapura in Ramdurg taluk. Two girls, one 18 months old and the other 12 months old are recovering in hospitals, according to IANS.
A 13-month-old baby girl named Pavithra Halagur died after being administered the first dose of the MR vaccine, after she developed nausea and vomiting a few hours after inoculation. Umesh Karagundi, a 14-month-old child, was shifted to the Belagavi Institute of Medical Sciences (BIMS) but developed convulsion in the ICU and passed away. A 15-month-old baby named Chetana also died after getting the shot at the Mallapura camp.
Children below the age of 15 months are given the first dose against MR and above 15 months are given a second dose.