CHARSADDA: Two children, both aged four, reportedly died in Charsadda on Sunday after receiving the measles vaccine.
Local sources said Sohail, who lived in Majoki Prang village, was vaccinated last Friday and was admitted to District Headquarters Hospital after he fainted. The second child, Faizan, who was living in Peshawar, also fainted after receiving the vaccination from health workers at his residence.
In-charge of the Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI) in Charsadda, Dr Farhad denied the deaths were caused due to the vaccinations, saying these were ‘rumours’. He said Sohail was admitted to the hospital with a fever and it is believed that he passed away as he was suffering from measles. He added that Faizan died due to a fever and not from the vaccination.
Last week, two children – Mazhar and Umar – died in Shabqadar after reportedly having an adverse reaction to the vaccine, while three children were reported dead in Peshawar, including two-year-old Hilal of Mandra Khel area, two-year-old Rida of the same village and one-year-old Abul Samand, a resident of Faqir Kalay.
On May 29, Minister for Health Shahram Khan Tarakai formed an investigation team comprising local and foreign health experts to probe the deaths. However, he expressed confidence in the vaccine’s quality and said the deceased children might have had health issues prior to the vaccination.
On the same day, a report issued by the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Directorate of Health stated the instances of children fainting as well as dying due to the injections were occurring because untrained staff was administering the vaccine.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 2nd, 2014.