New Delhi – Draft policy blames deficient surveillance of authorities.
The number of children who have died after being administered vaccine shots has jumped suddenly in the last three years, according to Central government records.
However, none of the deaths have been attributed to vaccines directly. Even though the number of deaths was quite low in the first seven years of the last decade, the spike came in the last three years, when 355 kids died due to adverse events following immunisation (AEFI)—the technical parlance for vaccine deaths.
According to the government’s own records—available with Deccan Herald —as many as 111 children died in 2008, followed by 116 deaths in 2009 and 128 deaths in 2010.
The cause of as many as 72 deaths, out of the 128 deaths in 2010, remain unknown while in 48 cases, it is “coincidental”. In four cases, the culprit was vaccine reaction and in remaining four the cause of death is either injection reaction or programme error.
In comparison, there were only 146 vaccine deaths between 2001 and 2007 and the highest number of deaths—54— were reported in 2006.