Child dies in Bomet after reacting to measles vaccine

Tenwek Mission Hospital paediatrician, Dr Carolyn Stickney, attends to one of the four children admitted after a measles vaccination in Konoin Sub-County of Bomet County reacted. One child died after the vaccination on January 15, 2018. PHOTO | GEOFFREY RONO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

What you need to know:

  • The children had received the vaccine on Monday in Mogogosiek, Konoin Sub-County of Bomet County.

  • A brother of the dead child is among the four children who are admitted to the hospital in serious condition.

  • Dr Steve Burgert said the children who are admitted are responding well to the drugs administered to them.

One child has died and four others are admitted to Bomet’s Tenwek Mission Hospital in critical condition after they reacted severely to a measles vaccine.

The children had received the vaccine on Monday in Mogogosiek, Konoin Sub-County of Bomet County.

A brother of the dead child is among the four children who are admitted to the hospital in serious condition. 

Those admitted are aged between nine and twelve months. 

The children who had been vaccinated by Bomet County health workers were rushed to the hospital by their parents after they started swelling on their  bodies soon after being vaccinated.

THOROUGH INVESTIGATIONS

Mr Simon Kirui, who lost one of his twins, wants the government to do thorough investigations to establish whether the vaccines administered were safe and whether the health workers who vaccinated the children were qualified.  

"It is sad that I have lost my child when I was in an attempt to have him vaccinated," he said. 

Mr Kirui said he does not want to speculate over the death since the drugs administered by the county health workers were from Kenya Medical Supplies Authority and the government should therefore be liable. 

He said that his dead child and the one admitted to the Tenwek high dependency unit were not sick before the vaccination  and were only seeking routine immunisation for their children.

Mr Kirui said on Monday morning he had sent his daughter and his son who is admitted together with their  mother for vaccination but when she was brought back her hand was swollen and had high fever and they  were forced to take her to Tenwek Mission Hospital.

RESPONDING WELL

Doctors at the hospital, among them the hospital's medical superintendent, Dr Steve Burgert, said the children who are admitted are responding well to the drugs administered to them.

Dr Burgert said the patients were brought to the hospital on Tuesday after they had been vaccinated on Monday for measles, leading to the reaction on their bodies. 

“The swelling was obviously from a body reaction to the measles vaccines administered at the health facility and we have operated them and [they] are currently receiving treatment at the ICU and HDU," the doctor said. 

The hospital’s Deputy Nursing Officer Paul Too said the children were out of danger after the treatment.

"All the patients(children) admitted [to] our facility are out of danger. Doctors are monitoring the situation very closely,” said the nursing officer.

EXAMINE CHILDREN

A paediatrician at Tenwek Hospital, Dr Carolyn Stickney, called on people in Konoin Sub-County whose children were vaccinated at Mogogosiek Health Centre  to have them examined early following the discovery  that some of them had contracted diseases.

The hospital’s medical superintendent said vaccinations are good and appealed to parents not to shy away from taking their children for them. 

Nineteen other parents whose children were vaccinated on the same day were said to have rushed to various health centres to have their children cross examined following the death of one child and hospitalisation of others at Tenwek Hospital. 

Kapkatet  Hospital in the neighbouring  Kericho County received a number of children who received the measles vaccine at Mogogosiek when word went out that one child had died. 

PANIC

Scared parents said they could not sleep following the report of the death, with some of them saying their children had minor swellings but which did not last long.

Deputy Governor Hillary Barchok said the county had taken up the matter and that health workers had been dispatched to the constituency where the vaccination was carried out to check on any incidents which may arise.

“We have taken up the matter seriously and there is no need to panic. Our surveillance staff from the Public Health department are on the ground but parents whose children were immunised should take their children for a check at the nearest facility,” said the deputy governor.

“We have taken a step to stop the use of all the batch of measles vaccines in our facilities after the incident and we are sending them for testing at the Government Chemist,” he added.

VACCINE STOPPED

On his part, the director of medical services, Dr Sowek, said the county government had stopped administering the vaccines in all hospitals across the county pending an investigation.

Dr Sowek dismissed allegations of negligence by health workers at Mogogosiek Health Centre saying those who conducted the immunization were experienced staff.

“We have checked all the vaccines and they had not expired together with the needles that were used and all we need to do was to send the vaccines for further testing on why the children reacted to them by swelling,” said Dr Sowek.

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