Death  Kenya  Measles  MMR/MR 

Panic as two children die, seven in critical condition after measles vaccination




Two children died on Tuesday and seven others were hospitalised in serious condition after receiving measles vaccinations in Kerio Valley, Elgeyo-Marakwet County. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP. 

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Two children died on Tuesday and seven others were hospitalised in serious condition after receiving measles vaccinations in Kerio Valley, Elgeyo-Marakwet County.

Hundreds of other children who received the immunisation have been recalled to medical centres in the county.

Health authorities desperately recalled the children who had been immunised for immediate observation, with the seven said to be in critical condition after falling ill soon after the botched jabs.

They were admitted to the Catholic Church-run St Benedictine Sisters’ Chesong’och Health Centre, where their mothers had swiftly rushed them on motorbikes.

The dead children, both aged nine months, had been immunised for measles at Sesie Post in Kotut Village of Endo Ward in Marakwet East Sub-County where health staff conducted routine immunisations.

The bodies of the two children, Jepchumba Kemboi and Brian Kiptoo Kimutai, were also moved to the hospital’s mortuary.

The mother of one of the children was also said to have developed swellings on her lips after coming into contact with vomit from her dying baby.

The outreach immunisation targeted minors in three villages of Kapchesek, Kobil and Kakisagur in Old-Mokoro Location.

The Elgeyo-Marakwet County executive in charge of health and medical services, Mr Thomas Ruto, told the Nation that the two deaths had been confirmed and the rest of the immunised minors were under observation as investigations into the unfortunate matter was investigated.

“This was a routine immunisation exercise for measles targeting children less than five years.

"Our staff went for the exercise and unfortunately this has happened. We have sent a team to collect the batch of the vaccine samples for analysis,” said Mr Ruto.

The official said the immunisation has, meanwhile, been suspended with immediate effect until the cause of the deaths is established.

“In fact, we have to ascertain first this and in any case this would be required to be even sent to the World Health Organisation because it is really strange,” said Mr Ruto.

“We are in a crisis meeting and we have already ordered the deceased bodies to be moved to the Iten County Referral Hospital mortuary for post-mortem examinations. Please give us more time and we shall get back to you ….” said the executive.

In July, 28 children were paralysed after receiving injections at a dispensary in Busia County.

The children were airlifted for specialised treatment at Nairobi Hospital.

By the time of filing this report, scores of villagers had thronged the Chesong’och Health Centre in large numbers, with mothers wailing as they feared for the worst.

But nurses were there to assure them that they would be safe.

Speaking to the Nation by phone, Sister Benadete Nzuve, who is in charge at the Chesong’och Benedictine Sisters convent, said: “The deceased children were actually pronounced dead on arrival and they seemed to have had secretions after the vaccine.”

“We may not really know the cause of deaths because it is not our facility which was carrying out this but it will take the government to analyse the batch of the vaccine.”

Marakwet East MP Kangogo Bowen, in whose constituency the deaths happened, said on his Facebook page that the vaccination was “unprofessional".

“I wish to send my sincere condolences to the families who lost their children following an unprofessional vaccination at Mokoro Location.

“So far, two children have lost their lives and ten are admitted in critical condition to Chesong’och Mission Hospital while others are still in the villages,” the MP said.

He added: “It is really sad. We saw children who got paralysed in Busia County after injections, now there are deaths in Elgeyo Marakwet County after vaccination. We don’t want further casualties in other areas.”