Parents of a two-month-old girl, who died in her sleep on Friday, have alleged that a vaccine administered to her last week caused her death. The incident was reported from Jaitpur village in South Delhi. But the Centre for Health Development, Research and Society for Applied Studies, the organisation which held the vaccination camp, said they were still trying to ascertain the cause of the child’s death. Police said they would take action, if any, only after the post-mortem report is out.
Parents of Ikra said on Friday morning, they found her foaming from the mouth. Her father Shahabuddin, an auto-rickshaw driver, said, “I was sleeping when my wife Afsana began screaming around 5 am. I woke up and saw my daughter foaming from the mouth. We tried, but she would not wake up. We rushed her to a doctor who declared her dead. We then informed the health camp orgainsers of Ikra’s death. They told us to take the child to a hospital. We brought her to AIIMS where she was declared brought dead.”
A police officer said, “The autopsy has been conducted and we are waiting for the report to know the cause.”
Shahabuddin said the organisation approached him when Ikra was born and told him that they would administer her a vaccine to counter the rotavirus (which causes diarrhoea and kills thousands of children in India annually). They told the couple that they would be given a blanket,
Rs 500, a mobile phone, medicines and a thermometer.
On November 28, the organisers came in a car, picked up Afsana and Ikra and took them to their Devli office. There, Ikra was given the vaccine , Shahbuddin said.
He said after the vaccination, his wife was given a brochure which said, “If during the research programme, due to any substance administered or a process involved, the child suffers bodily harm or death, the sponsor (Serum Institute of India) will bear the medical expenses or the monetary compensation”.
T S Rao, Senior Advisor, Department of Biotechnology, Govt of India, said, “We had informed the parents about the pros and cons of the vaccine. This vaccine has been administered to 1,400 children as part of Phase III trials in the area where the child lived. However, we have no way of establishing anything before the post-mortem report is out.”