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Published On: Mon, Sep 16th, 2013

India: Dozens of children sickened after given hepatitis B vaccine orally

India has been polio-free for more than two years and was later taken off the list of polio endemic countries that now includes only Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria.

Image/CIA

Image/CIA

In an effort to keep the country polio-free, children are immunized against the potentially crippling virus; however, in an unfortunate incident, some 57 children under the age of five were sickened with vomiting after they were inadvertently administered hepatitis B vaccine orally, instead of the oral polio vaccine, according to a  report in The Hindu.

The incident occurred at Khatun primary school in Goghat, a village 50 miles from Calcutta.

The Telegraph UK reported the error was first noticed by the father of a 14-month-old boy who saw staff administer the ‘polio’ drops from boxes marked ‘Hepatitis B vaccine’.

“There is no harmful effect of the vaccine, but giving Hepatitis B vaccine instead of pulse polio immunization drops is neither acceptable nor desirable,”said B.R. Satpathy, director of State Health Services.

Biswaranjan Sathpaty, director of West Bengal Health Services, said the error had been made because a member of staff had sent her husband to collect the vaccines instead of fetching them herself.

Stating that it was a case of clear negligence of duty on the part of the heath workers, he said that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has directed strong action against those responsible for the mix-up.

The health workers have since been suspended pending investigation.

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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