Gandhinagar, March 16 (IANS) Four children died in Gujarat after they were given oral vaccine drops for measles, official sources said here Wednesday. The government has ordered immediate suspension of the oral vaccination drive and instituted a high-level probe.
The children, all below the age of one year, were from a slum colony in Adipur town of Kutch district and were administered the vaccines by the health department staff.
Noting signs of complications, they were immediately rushed to a Rambag hospital where they died during treatment, the sources said.
According to a government spokesman, seven children were given oral vaccines by the health department officials, and of them four developed complications.
He said efforts are on to trace the remaining three.
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi expressed shock at the death of the four children and ordered immediate suspension of the oral vaccination drive.
A high-level inquiry has also been ordered.
The chief minister promised stringent action if any negligence is found on the part of the staff leading to the tragedy.
He also announced an assistance of Rs.1 lakh each to the families of the deceased children.
Immediate orders have been issued to impound the particular batch of the oral vaccine and samples are being sent to the laboratory for testing.
Health Minister Jaynarayan Vyas denied any negligence by the department.
He said the vaccines were procured from the public sector India Immunological Limited in Hyderabad and that the batch carried expiry date of April 2012.
However, he said, the samples have been sent to the drugs laboratory in Kasauli in Himachal Pradesh for testing.
The opposition leader in the state assembly, Shaktisinh Gohil of the Congress, described the incident as very tragic.
It comes after reports of 17 women dying in the neighbouring Rajasthan, who had delivered at a government-run hospital in Jodhpur.
The women died of excessive bleeding at Jodhpur's Umaid Hospital after they were allegedly administered contaminated IV fluids.