The health authorities in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu have directed that all vaccines will be administered only in the presence of a doctor.
Infants below the age of one year are given vaccination shots against jaundice, chicken pox, diphtheria and tuberculosis.
The death of four babies in Tiruvallur district after being administered the measles vaccine last Wednesday, has sent a wave of panic across the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu with at least two more districts, including Dharmapuri and now Dindigul, reporting deaths of babies due to vaccines.
Following the deaths of some infants after being vaccinated, all children who have been recently vaccinated are being monitored.
Hitherto, Government Hospitals had been vaccinating children through Primary Health Care Centers with the help of village health nurses in rural areas.†
A circular from the Directorate of State Health System stated that the children should be vaccinated in Primary Health Centers in the presence of a doctor.
Parents are requested to vaccinate their children either in Government Taluk Hospitals or Primary Health Care Centers and to avoid vaccinating their children at private hospitals or at free vaccination centers.
Health system authorities in Madurai said that nearly 41,643 children are vaccinated each month in and around Madurai.†
According to the new scheme, in Madurai, children are vaccinated every Wednesday at the 42 Primary Health Care Centers and Government Taluk Hospitals.
In the wake of the vaccination deaths, health authorities have requested parents to stay back at the hospital for an hour after vaccination and return home only after making sure their child is normal.
According to health officials a shift in strategy will be introduced shortly instead of the existing outreach services of PHCs to allay the fears of worried mothers.
In this program, the village health nurses will be involved in mobilizing the children, their conveyance to the PHCs will be made available and health education on breast-feeding and child rearing practices will be introduced to mothers.
The program will also ensure that both mothers and children are examined frequently, infants below one year vaccinated and sick children treated promptly.