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Inquiry report links children’s deaths in KP to other causes, not polio vaccines

By Our Correspondent
May 08, 2018

PESHAWAR: An inquiry committee constituted to probe the deaths of three children in Shaheen Muslim Town last week has cited other reasons as the cause of deaths of the children, not polio vaccines.

The committee concluded that none of the deaths had any links with inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) and that the vaccine used in the campaign was not expired. A press release issued by the Health Department on Monday said the vaccine was safe and did not cause deaths. It asked the parents not to pay heed to unfounded rumours and help stamp out the crippling disease by getting children immunised against polio.

The press release said the seven-member inquiry committee including paediatricians, district administration, district health office staff and others collected evidence from the field teams. It included records of vaccination, hospital records, where the children were treated, and statements of doctors and aggrieved parents during the investigation.

The findings revealed that two of the children had not received any IPV dose during the April campaign. It said one of the victim children, Muzammil, was not administered any kind of anti-polio vaccine and died of measles. sThe second child, Alyan, had received only one oral polio vaccine (OPV) dose and no IPV, and his death was attributed to gastroenteritis.

The other child, Shahram, had received an IPV shot and died two days later at home. Father of Shahram appeared and recorded his statement to the committee and expressed confidence in the inquiry committee and its proceedings, the release said.

The committee unanimously found all vaccine vials fully useable and valid up to 2020. However, to the satisfaction of the parents and community elders, the committee requested sending the vaccine vials for a test to the Pakistan Drug Regulatory Authority.

Furthermore, on the recommendations of the committee, the Health teams would conduct a survey in these UCs to find out any reaction or side effect of the vaccine. It would also undertake the communication and technical training of the field staff. The release added that other children vaccinated with the same IPV vial in the aforementioned area did not report any side effects. A total of 186,459 children in Peshawar received vaccines during the campaign, it added.

The report re-emphasised that the vaccine is the safest ever developed and over 15 billion doses of OPV and 11 million IPV had been administered to children in Pakistan and no reaction among any of the children across the country was reported.