By Bushra Baseerat
HYDERABAD: The state health department has recorded an alarming 13 deaths in the 0-5 age group in the first five months of 2011, the highest in the corresponding period in last three years. The deaths were reported within 24 hours of the children being vaccinated, mostly after an oral polio vaccine was administered.
While this figure may appear insignificant for the state health authorities who immunise 14 lakh children annually for seven diseases, the 13 deaths are high when compared to last year’s total of 12 deaths. In 2009, there were 15 deaths reported post vaccination while in 2008, 17 deaths were reported.
The latest case was reported on May 15 when an infant in Kadapa died a day after she was vaccinated for DPT, polio and Hepatitis B. In all, six children died in different parts of the state between February and May this year after they were given the DPT, OPV and Hepatitis B shots. However, OPV was a fixture in all the 13 deaths, which have occurred so far this year. The official reason for the deaths as per government records: adverse events following immunisation.