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Inquiry ordered into deaths of three children.

Byline: Umer Farooq

PESHAWAR -- An inquiry has been ordered into the deaths of three children in Peshawar after their parents claimed that fell ill after being administered the inactivated polio vaccine.

Health officials, however, have ruled out the possibility of the vaccine causing deaths, suggesting that at its worst, it can cause anaphylaxes, an allergic reaction and that too in rare cases within the first 15 to 30 minutes of being administered.

The parents of three children had alleged their kids had to be shifted to the hospital after they fell ill soon after being administered the vaccine during an immunization drive.

Initial investigations showed that four-month-old Shahram had been administered the vaccine on April 26 at the hujra of a nazim. Around 10 hours after the child had been administered the vaccine, he fell sick and was shifted to a private clinic at around 8:30pm due to high fever. The child was later shifted to a local hospital, the Paracha Nursing Home, on April 28.

Blaming inoculation, locals of the area had staged a protest against the vaccination drive.

The child's clinical chart [prepared during treatment at the Paracha Nursing Home], a copy of which is available with The Express Tribune, showed that the infant had been diagnosed with acute-gastroenteritis, dehydration and febrile fits [due to high fever].

Shahram was later referred to the Lady Reading Hospital (LRH) on April 28, however, he succumbed to his ailment and died at LRH.

A health official said that apart from Shahram, around 300 children were administered drops in the Gulabad locality of the provincial capital.

'It was not only Shahram but 59 other children were also immunised against the poliovirus at the same venue while a total of 300 children of the same locality were administered IPV by Parveen, a skilled lady health worker,' a senior official involved in anti-polio campaigns said.

'Believe me, this is the safest vaccine available across the world,' the official added while refusing to disclose his identity since he was not entitled to speak to media.

'IPV reacts in rare cases, but that also be prevented. However, it does not kill, but we will still probe the incident,' the official said.

The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Emergency Operation Center Coordinator Atif Rehman said that Aryan from Bostanabad area had also died despite the fact that the child was not administered the IPV since the child was not old enough to qualify for the vaccine.

'The third child, Muzammil from Tauhid Colony, was brought to the LRH on April 21, even before the IPV campaign was launched,' Rehman said, adding that Muzammil was suffering from measles which ultimately claimed his life. Moreover, Rehman claimed that the child had not been provided with any form of the vaccine.

Rehman urged parents to not believe in rumours, adding that despite witnessing a sharp reduction in the number of poliovirus still persits.

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Publication:The Express Tribune (Karachi, Pakistan)
Date:May 1, 2018
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