Bengal polio goof-up: 114 kids hospitalised after being given Hepatitis B vaccine

Hospital114 children who were given Hepatitis B vaccine instead of pulse polio drops were admitted to the Arambagh Sub-Divisional Hospital. (Reuters)

At least 114 children were hospitalised in Hooghly district after they were mistakenly given Hepatitis B vaccine orally instead of pulse polio drops. Six persons were suspended for the the lapse that triggered protests with angry villagers locking up health workers.

On Sunday parents had taken their children to the polio booth at the Khatul village under Arambagh sub-division, official sources said.

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One of the parents noticed that the health workers at the polio booth in Khatul village was giving Hepatitis B vaccine orally instead of polio drops and immediately informed the matter to the health workers and the villagers, the sources said. By then 114 children had already been given the Hepatiti B vaccine orally. Angry villagers then locked up the health workers and the local Block Development Officer (BDO) and the Sub-Divisional Officer (SDO) Arambagh who rushed to the spot to pacify them.

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Meanwhile, all the114 children who were given Hepatitis B vaccine instead of pulse polio drops were admitted to the Arambagh Sub-Divisional Hospital. The Superintendent of the Arambagh Sub-Divisional Hospital Nirmalya Ray said the Hepatitis B vaccine would not cause any harm to the children. Hepatitis B is administered through injection while pulse polio drops are given orally.

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Ray also said that most of the children had been discharged from hospital as they were admitted so that they could be kept under observation. Hooghly District Magistrate Manmeet Nanda said six persons have been suspended in this connection. Five of them are health workers and one anganwadi worker.

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