DOTI, Aug 21: Four infants have died within 24 hours of being administered measles and DPT vaccines in a remote village of Doti.
Anju BK, daughter of Pashupati BK, of Pokhari VDC-9, Milan Damai, son of Hira Devi Damai, of Kadamandau VDC-6, Sujita Nepali, daughter of Suntali Nepali, of Kadamandau VDC-7 and Gauri Chiral, daughter of Indari Chirali, of Kadamandau VDC-7, who were vaccinated at Kadamandau sub health post on Sunday, died on Monday.
The four infants, all of them below the age of one, had been suffering from diarrhea before dying.
While Gauri was administered DPT vaccine, three other infants were vaccinated against measles. They were administered DPT and measles vaccines as part of a monthly vaccination program carried out by District Public Health Office of Doti to protect children below one from diseases like measles, tuberculosis, tetanus, hepatitis and pneumonia.
However, it has yet to be confirmed if the deaths were caused by vaccines. Mahendra Dhwoj Adhikari, chief of DHO, Doti, says, "We can´t say anything now."
According to Dr Tara Pokharel, Chief of Child Health Division (CHD), Teku, a medical team, which also includes health experts from World Health Organization (WHO), has been mobilized to find out the cause of deaths.
"Generally, only one in a million children suffers from severe side effects after being administered measles vaccines. DPT vaccines are considered to be safer than measles vaccines," Dr Pokharel said. "Only after the medical team returns from Kadamandau, will we be able to say if measles and DPT vaccines were indeed the causes of deaths."
Ram Swartha Yadav, supervisor of the vaccination program at DPHO, Doti, says, "Something else might have caused the deaths. If vaccines had caused the deaths, more infants might have died because we vaccinated hundreds of infants against measles in Doti."