Teams of different departments including WHO, UNICEF and the CMIT Friday launched investigation into the death of two children allegedly died from ‘EPI vaccination.’

The health authorities, however, still stuck to their stance that the affected children including the two deceased kids - had born symptoms of Diarrhoea and gastro. They argued that water of the area is highly contaminated due to which there are water-borne diseases, especially the gastro and diarrhoea.

On Friday, the three vaccinators - Muhammad Fayaz, Rab Nawab and Sarfraz who had gone underground after this incident, were arrested and cases were registered against them on the report of Deputy District Officer (DDO) Health.

On Thursday 2 children died and five became critical after routine vaccination under EPI programme Sheikh Wahan, Tehsil Khairpur Tamewali Hasilpur. The affected children were admitted to hospitals in Khairpur Tamewali and Bahawalpur. Initially, the incident was attributed to the administration of ‘expired vaccine’ at which the district administration stopped EPI immunisation across the district till ‘further orders.’

The teams of WHO, UNICEF and the CMIT initiated probe into the incident to ascertain facts, surrounding death of the two children.

On the other hand, the investigation team constituted by the district administration is being headed by Child Specialist Dr Qasim Khichi which has started its investigation. Similarly, Principal Quaid-e-Azam Medical College Bahawalpur has also started an investigation and another team under the supervision of MS Bahawal Victoria Hospital has also begun a probe. The members of these teams have taken into custody the vaccination and injections and started recording statements of people of the area.

The health officials said that the affected children have symptoms of vomiting, loose motion and fever which are the symptoms of Diarrhoea. They said that water of the area is very injurious to health and due to its use diseases are spreading. They, however, said that facts would come to light once the investigation is completed.

The affected children, admitted in Khairpur Tamewali hospital, have been shifted to Bahawal Victoria Hospital where they are stated to be stable now. District Officer (Health) Dr Saeed informed that the vaccinators have been arrested “not because they had administered expired vaccine, rather they have been nabbed for fleeing after the incident.” “All pertaining record was with the vaccinators and they have been handed over to the police after registration of cases,” he added.

The DO health dispelled the impression regarding administration of expired vaccine to the children again. “More than 40 children were vaccinated in the area and had there been any problem with the (vaccine), all the children would have been affected,” he explained, adding that the affected children including the deceased have born symptoms of gastro and diarrhoea.