QUETTA: Balochistan Health Minister Rehmat Saleh Baloch refuted media reports on Friday that five children had died in the Qila Saifullah area of Balcohistan after being administered measles vaccine.
“I think media should have confirmed the news before publishing it as it could affect the anti-measles campaign in the province,” said Baloch, while claiming that the cause of death was dehydration, diarrhea and food poisoning.
Addressing a press conference at the Quetta Press Club, the minister also announced that a committee headed by Additional Secretary Health Abdullah Khan Noorzai had been formed to investigate the deaths. Other members of the committee include N-Stop officer Dr Aftab Kakar Unicef and WHO officials.
Dispelling the impression that the vaccine used was spurious or expired, Baloch said, “more than a million children have so far been vaccinated during the last four days in 30 districts of Balochistan … there would have been more deaths if vaccines were not good or expired.”
However, Saadullah, who lost his two children and three nephews, claimed that the children died just hours after they were administered the anti-measles vaccine.
Meanwhile, Health Secretary Noorul Haq Baloch also said that the cause of the death was dehydration and vomiting.
The minister said the District Health Officer Qilla Saifullah has requested for another 40 thousands vaccination for the district. “Why would a medical officer demand more vaccines if they were killing children?” he asked rhetorically.
Responding to the affected family’s allegations that they have three houses in the area and have nine children, all of whom are affected, the health secretary said the committee will investigate and if anyone from health department is found guilty of negligence will be suspended and face the serious action.