India News: 79 schoolchildren ill after vaccinations

Bhubaneswar, India : Seventy-nine schoolchildren in Orissa have fallen ill, 11 of them critically, after they were given tetanus and diphtheria vaccination shots that are part of the state's immunisation programme.

Officials said 47 students at the Kodakana primary school in Kendrapada district were given the tetanus toxide shots and 32 were given the diphtheria toxide vaccination on Aug 26 in the school premises by local paramedical staff.

After three days, all the students complained of skin irritation, viral fever and vomiting. Eleven of them are critically ill and have been admitted to the local government hospital.

One of them, a 10-year-old girl called Minirani Khatua, has blood oozing from her nose and mouth, said a district health official.

While some parents have complained that the reaction was due to the repeated use of one syringe for multiple vaccinations, health officials have denied it.
"We visited the village and collected the samples of the vaccine used," said district health chief Pramilla Mallik.
"We are waiting for the test results. Only after than would we be able to know the exact reason of the illness," she said.

Indo-Asian News Service