In Soonagahalli in Mandya, a two and a half-year-old boy has passed away after receiving a shot of the pentavalent vaccine. Only a month prior, three newborn babies reportedly died following a pentavalent shot. The parents are blaming the vaccine, however, health officials say they need to wait for more forensic evidence.
The pentavalent vaccine is marketed by the vaccine manufacturer as offering protection against diphtheria, cough, tetanus, hepatitis B, and influenza B. Health officials have long been at odds with protestors over the vaccine. Health officials claim the vaccine is perfectly safe.
Doctors from the hospital where the most recent incident occurred claim that the baby was brought in deceased.
“The PHC (Primary Health Centre) at Soonagahalli had told the parents to bring her to MIMS. But the baby was brought dead,” a doctor from Mandya Institute of Medical Sciences said.
According to the Health and Family Welfare Department, forensic lab reports have been ordered.
Dr. Ramachandra Bairy, who is heading up the investigation, has confirmed that the same batch of vaccines was used on both the recently passed baby as well as the prior three babies.
“The department has not yet taken any decision on whether the drugs from the same batch must be recalled. Many babies have been vaccinated without any harm in other districts. We will know the cause of death after the forensic report arrives,” he said.
The three infant deaths from February similarly remains under investigation. In those incidents, the babies were vaccinated by Accredited Social Health Activists who showed up at their doors. The babies, according to parents, cried relentlessly until passing away.