Vaccine deaths: Demand for probe in Rajya Sabha

Demanding a thorough probe into the death of four children following Measles vaccination in Uttar Pradesh, members in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday raised doubts over the quality of vaccines.

Raising the issue during Zero Hour, R C Singh (CPI) said different departments of the Centre and State governments were shifting responsibility to each other for the incident. He said the inquiry committee report should be made public and compensation for the victims increased.

Singh was supported by Brinda Karat (CPM), who also questioned the quality of the vaccines, supplied by a private company. Karat said 12 children have so far died in the country after being administered same vaccination.

Rajniti Prasad (RJD) said the vaccines were being administered by untrained staff, a charge denied by Satish

Chandra Mishra of BSP, the ruling party in UP. Mishra said the vaccines used in the programme were supplied by the Central government and a magisterial enquiry has already been ordered into the incident.

He said five lakh children were administered the vaccines and the Centre was also examining the cause of the deaths of four children. Ram Vilas Paswan (LJP) demanded increased compensation to the victims stating that all of them belonged to poorer sections of society.

In a separate mention, Prasanta Chatterjee (CPM) said the government should follow the directions of the Supreme Court to distribute foodgrain rotting in the absence of storage facility to the poor.

He was supported by Shanta Kumar (BJP) who said excess foodgrain could be used in the implementation of the NREGA which would help the government save Rs 800 crore.

Compensate victims, govt tells Centre
The state government on Wednesday demanded the Central government provide financial assistance to the tune of Rs 10 lakh to the families of children who died Saturday following administration of the Measles vaccine in Mohanlalganj area. In a letter to the Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad , state Health Minister Anant Kumar Mishra said, "Though the CM had sanctioned Rs 50,000 assistance for the family members of each deceased, but the Central Government should also provide them assistance in the interest of the immunisation drive," said a government press release on Tuesday. Mishra demanded that the quality of vaccines being supplied to the state by the Centre should be given special focus. ENS

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