Two boys, both aged around two-and-a-half months, died within 24 hours of receiving regular paediatric vaccines in Coimbatore, the Health Department said on Thursday. Officials denied any link between the vaccination and the deaths.
Sources in the Health Department and the district administration said the first baby was vaccinated at an anganwadi at Masakalipalayam, near Singanallur, and the second baby was vaccinated at the urban primary health centre at Sowripalayam on Wednesday. Both were administered three vaccines — Pentavalent, rotavirus vaccine and oral polio vaccine — during their routine vaccination around 11 a.m.
The first baby reportedly developed difficulty in breathing after being brought home at Masakalipalayam. His mother rushed him to the Uppilipalayam Primary Health Centre and the baby was then referred to Coimbatore Medical College Hospital (CMCH), where he was declared dead on arrival in the afternoon, the sources said.
After autopsy at the CMCH on Thursday, pneumonic consolidation (filling of liquid) was discovered in the upper left lobe of the left lung, and no adverse reactions due to vaccination were recorded. The child might have contracted pneumonia a week ago, the sources said.
The second baby was healthy till Wednesday but did not wake up on Thursday. His parents took him to a private hospital around 6 a.m., and the doctors there declared him dead on arrival. The sources noted that 13 other babies that were given the vaccines at the Masakalipalayam anganwadi were normal. Similarly, 14 children, excluding the deceased boy, were vaccinated at the Sowripalayam primary health centre on Wednesday, and no adverse reactions were reported as on Thursday.
The Health Department will send the vaccines administered to both babies for laboratory testing, the sources said.