KHYBER AGENCY - The death toll yesterday rose to five as three more infants died in Khyber Agency after they allegedly received polio drops.

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The tragic incidents were reported from the Bara and Landi Kotel tehsils of Khyber Agency. The deceased infants were identified as four-year-old Zakir, one-month-old Umar Khethab and four-month-old Safoora. The health officials, when contacted, said teams have been despatched to the areas to probe the matter.

Muhammad Usman, father of one of the dead infants, said he had asked the polio team not to vaccinate his son because it had affected him in the last campaign as well, but they ignored his concern and administered him polio drops.

Usman said the infant’s condition became critical within an hour; he was rushed to Hayatabad Medical Complex, Peshawar, where he died during treatment.

Muhammad Farooq, father of four-month-old Safoora, said his daughter was healthy and had never been taken to doctor against any kind of disease before, but after being administrated polio drops by the polio team, she started vomiting and breathed her last on Monday.

Farooq warned the dwellers of Pirokhel would not risk their children’s lives with polio drops if the cause of his daughter’s death was not ascertained.

Meanwhile, Dr Niaz Afridi, a senior health department official, said samples of polio vaccine had been sent to an Islamabad lab for test, which declared it safe for use.

Afridi said emergency health teams had been sent to the areas to ascertain cause of death of the infants. He further said that on the directions of the high-ups, the polio campaign had been suspended in Khyber Agency.

It is worth mentioning that two children reportedly died and 11 others fell unconscious last week because of reaction to vaccines during an immunisation campaign in Khyber Agency.

The infants, hailing from Shalobar area, who were vaccinated against measles and pneumonia died a few moments after they were given injections.