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The Ministry of Heath and Family Welfare in India has recalled over four million doses of a measles vaccine supplied by a south Indian drug manufacturer—Indian Immunologicals Limited—after four children died following inoculation with the drug.
The Ministry has directed all state governments to stop use of the vaccine until further orders, besides halting further supplies from the Hyderabad-based manufacturer.
The recall came after four infants who received the measles vaccine in the southern state of Tamil Nadu died on Wednesday.
Grief-stricken parents said their babies started frothing at the mouth and nose and died within 15 to 20 minutes of being administered the vaccine.
The State Health Minister said that the children might have had a severe allergic reaction to the vaccine, while noting that some 20,000 children in Tamil Nadu were inoculated against measles with the same drug Wednesday.
According to sources, vaccine samples have been sent to a national laboratory for testing and a team of health experts is examining how the vaccine was stored and how health workers administered it.
Taking immediate action on the issue, the Government of Tamil Nadu has suspended its measles vaccination programme. The recall is likely to hit the immunisation programme in other states also.