More children die from double measles vaccine

July 2006
By Juma Aluoch & Dennis Lumiti

Three more children have died in Nyanza province, bringing to eight infants
who have succumbed to an overdose of the measles vaccine in the area.

The three died yesterday after their mothers, ignorant of the dangers of
repeat dosage of the vaccine and Vitamin 'A' supplements, took their
children for fresh vaccination in a span of 15 hours.

Two died suddenly at the Homa Bay District Hospital after receiving the
repeat dose.

Homa Bay District Medical Officer of Health (MoH) Dr Dan Otieno confirmed
the deaths but claimed they may have been caused by other ailments.

"I am made to understand that the parents of the deceased children had
failed to alert medical personnel that their children had been suffering
from other ailments," he said.

The third child was said to have died in a rural post in Rangwe.

Reports showed the two who died in hospital had been vaccinated earlier for
the same disease at Shauri Yako Primary School the previous day. But
apparently oblivious of the dangers of repeat dosages, mothers destroyed
Monday's vaccination certificates and wiped out ink marks on their fingers
imprinted at the first vaccination exercise and went for the repeat dose.

Yesterday, the Dr Otieno attributed the deaths to ignorance by the mothers,
who he said, ignored advice from health workers.

"Prior to the commencement of the exercise each day, the health workers
always pointed out the dangers of taking a repeat dose of the measles
vaccine and Vitamin A supplement, but some mothers ignored this," said Dr

Elsewhere, in Kakamega district, several children have reportedly died over
the past few weeks after being vaccinated for measles more than once.
Several others are admitted in hospitals with complications.

In Shinyalu division a three year old baby died on Tuesday after receiving
two jabs in different hospitals.

Mothers in search mosquito nets donated alongside the vaccine are said to
present their children for more that the required single measles dose. The
Shinyalu fatality the child died after receiving two jabs at Shikusi
Dispensary and at Mukumu Mission Hospital within 24 hours. It developed
complications and died as the mother received a second free net.

Local residents told Kenya Times that mothers had been forewarned against
multiple vaccination as reports showed 80 per cent of children under five
have been vaccinated in Western province.

Western Provincial Medical Officer of Health, Dr Olang'a Onudi said he is
investigating the report vaccine deaths and disclosed that children from
Uganda have been brought for the exercise which ends today.

"We are just being informed that children are dying due to the measles
immunization but we are yet to get any more details to enable us act. We
are appealing to anybody with more information to help us so that we can
take immediate action," said the PMO.

Dr Onundi said the influx from Uganda, reported in Busia and Teso
districts, had caused a shortage of mosquito nets. He also said some
mothers presented older children for vaccination to get the antimalarial nets.

The ministry of Health launched a country wide vaccination campaign for
children aged between nine months and five years in the wake of a measles