UPDATE 14-May 2015 We have an update to this story. It appears that the illnesses are consistent with bacterial infection of an as yet unknown origin.
El director general del instituto, José Antonio González Anaya, aseguró que las vacunas contra hepatitis B que se aplicaron a 52 niños en la comunidad La Pimienta, no ocasionaron las complicaciones de salud en 31 infantes ni los dos decesos.
The “adverse vaccine reactions” were NOT the cause. As we anticipated, anti-vaxxers jumped on this. Read the piece on Repectful Insolence here about why that was way off base.
Originally published 11-May 2015
Tragic and very bad news for children’s health.
Mexican health officials say they’re investigating after two infants died and at least 29 others were hospitalized after vaccinations.
The illnesses were reported after 52 children from the rural mining community of La Pimienta were given vaccines Friday for tuberculosis, rotavirus and Hepatitis B, the institute said. Later that night, 31 of the children “presented adverse reactions presumably associated with the application of these vaccines,” officials said. Two of the children later died.
Authorities haven’t said what they think caused the illnesses. They’ve pinpointed the batches the vaccines came from and have suspended administration of other vaccines from those batches pending the conclusion of their investigation, the institute said. They’re also investigating the needles used in the vaccinations and the possibility that a virus or bacteria could have caused the illnesses, Mexico’s El Universal newspaper reported.
And of course the anti-vaxxers yell it from the highest mountains that vaccines did this. But let’s look at the facts presented here:
- This is an impoverished, rural area with poor health care facilities.
- Some parents “distrust the government” because of the event.
- 31 out of 52 children were stricken.
Vaccines rarely cause adverse reactions. So to universally blame vaccines is asinine. However, this batch could have been mishandled or contaminated. Strict safeguards did not appear to be in place. They could have been infected by the needles. The cause of the illnesses was likely preventable or an accident. So the solution to safe vaccines is sensible medical precautions, not foregoing them entirely. We’ll wait to see the results of the inquiry into the facility. But, sadly, such events stall progress of global acceptance of vaccines and perhaps slow uptake that will certainly cause needless deaths.