A three-month-old baby died within two hours of receiving three vaccines under a regular immunisation programme, in Maharashtra’s Nandurbar on Friday. The baby had received pentavalent vaccine, oral polio drop and rotavirus vaccine.
Ten other children, who were vaccinated on Thursday, were also put under observation at the district civil hospital, but they have not shown any signs of an adverse event.
Food and Drug Administration on Friday took away random samples from a stock of 200 vials at the urban primary health centre (PHC) in Nandurbar for testing. An adverse event following immunisation (AEFI) expert committee will meet on Monday to assess the case. The district has submitted an initial report to the state government, giving details of a post-mortem and vaccination procedure undertaken.
The baby was vaccinated at Mahiwada PHC around noon. District officials said she took the first dose within a few days of her birth, and this was her second dose. “After half an hour of observation, she was fine and was sent home,” said Dr Jayesh Suryawanshi, incharge of the taluka health office.
According to her parents, the baby went to sleep and was later found unresponsive. “They took the baby to a general physician. The physician called us at 2 pm and informed us that the baby had died. We rushed the baby to the civil hospital, where she was declared dead,” Dr Suryawanshi said.
A post-mortem was conducted at the civil hospital, but the final opinion on the cause of death is reserved until her samples undergo histopathology tests. A forensic expert said they found enlarged lymph nodes, which are common around the site of vaccination and found in the armpit or collarbone close to the site.
“We are not sure if the vaccine was directly linked with the baby’s death in any way. She could have an existing disease. We need to wait for final forensic reports,” said district health officer Dr Nitin Bodke. He added that they were yet to conduct a detailed verbal autopsy with the baby’s parents to understand her medical condition.
On Friday, following her death, a team of health officials rushed to the PHC and stopped the ongoing vaccination drive as a precautionary measure. As many as 27 children had been vaccinated, but no child had suffered any adverse reaction. “This means there is nothing wrong with the vaccine. We requested all parents to admit their children to the hospital for observation. Only 10 agreed. The rest were monitored at home by our ASHA worker,” Dr Bodke said.
While mild adverse events such as fever and vomiting are commonly associated with vaccination, deaths are rare and caused by anaphylactic reaction.
Nandurbar officials said this was the first death post-immunisation reported from the district this year.
Earlier this week, a 40-year-old Thane resident died 20 minutes after receiving the Covid-19 vaccination at Bhiwandi. Sukhdev Kirdat, a driver for a private doctor, received the second dose of Covishield at vaccination centre 75 and collapsed in the observation room. He was declared dead at Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital. His final forensic reports are awaited, but experts found changes in the heart during an autopsy.
Dr Kailash Pawar, civil surgeon, said, “He weighed over 100 kg and most likely suffered a cardiac arrest. Vaccination has no relation with it. We are going to submit this opinion in the report to the state government.”
Dr Archana Patil, director (family welfare), Directorate of Health Services, said once the district-level AEFI committee submitted its report, a state-level AEFI committee will assess the case.