Conflicting figures report that the number of children that died because of measles in 2014 could be as low as 14 or as high as a 100. In either case, measles is still endemic in Pakistan, with over 4000 confirmed cases in the provinces of Sindh and KPK. Add to that the recent deaths of children as a direct result of the immunization drive, and in addition to polio, we have another big problem on our hands. At least 7 children have died after being vaccinated, yet the symptoms that lead to the deterioration of their condition have nothing to do with the side effects of vaccines themselves. Increased incidence of bruise-like spots, allergic reactions, and in very rare cases, seizures are associated side effects of the vaccination, and the manifestation of fever and fainting in the children that died shows that the vaccines themselves were not at fault.

Negligence on the part of those that are in charge of administering the vaccines is the most probable cause of these deaths, and the health department of KPK is looking to book at least three of its workers on intentional murder charges. Ten doctors and technicians have also been suspended until further enquiries are made. Medical negligence on the part of doctors and staff of hospitals usually goes unpunished in the country, and this move to hold negligent workers accountable must be appreciated. If the workers that are to blame are punished, it will set a positive precedent against negligence towards patients in the future.

Pakistan’s largely illiterate population already has many reservations against immunizations against diseases such as polio, and this debacle is not likely to easy any of their fears. Many parents in both Sindh and KPK refused immunizations for their children after the deaths became public knowledge. It is never good when the sick start fearing the medicine, and the government must do all it can to restore the faith of the public in the only thing that can save them against these deadly diseases.