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‘Expired measles vaccine’ causes toddler’s death

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Daily Times
July 16, 2010
By Amar Guriro

KARACHI: A toddler died allegedly after being administered expired measles vaccine at a private clinic in Gulberg Town on Thursday.

According to the child’s father, he took his one-and-a-half-year old son Abdullah to a private clinic near his residence in Yousuf Plaza, Block-16, Federal-B Area, for the routine measles vaccine.

However, his son developed high fever after returning home, and he was rushed to a hospital, but he died there during treatment.

The police reached the spot and immediately arrested a doctor named Qamar while two other doctors Ghani and Asad managed to escape.

The Sindh Health Department ordered immediate closure of the clinic and Sindh Health Minister Dr Sagheer Ahmed constituted a three-member committee headed by special secretary Dr Abdul Majid to probe the incident and present a report within three days.

The father of child, Sarfaraz, is a taxi driver and has three other children. He alleged that the health department was responsible for the incident since it had provided an expired vaccine to the clinic.

However, an official of the health department rejected the allegation and said the child suffered a reaction and when the doctors tried to administer anti-reaction medicines to the child, the parents refused, causing the child’s death.

“The vaccine was not expired, as four more children were also vaccinated at the same clinic and even the brother of the toddler was vaccinated along with him, but the child suffered a severe reaction and when doctors tried to give him some anti-reaction medicines, the family refused,” said Gulberg Town Health Officer Dr Shahnaz.

She said the child was vaccinated at a private clinic named Al-Hamad Medical Centre located in Yousuf Plaza. When asked why the official vaccination campaign was arranged in a private clinic, she said that her department had selected several private clinics and hospitals for this purpose.

“We just selected clinics and hospitals as central points where parents could bring children for vaccination,” she said.

She said that her department has estimated 99,000 children under five years age in Gulberg town for routine vaccination. She said no such incident has occurred so far in which a child died due to vaccination.

“Around 10 children were vaccinated from the same vial, which means if there was something wrong with the vaccine, the nine other children should also have been affected, but no other case was reported,” she said.

When contacted, Health Executive District Officer Dr Shahab Imam refused to comment on the issue. “The provincial health minister has directed us not to speak to the media,” he said.

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