Health officials have confirmed that bacterial contamination was responsible for the deaths of two infants and illness among 29 others in a village in Chiapas May 8, but angry parents and other residents of La Pimienta are not happy with the answers.
Javier Dávila of the national health institute, IMSS, said tests have revealed that staphylococcus hominis, a commonly found bacteria, was the cause of the tragedy in the indigenous community, located in the municipality of Simojovel.
Medical personnel had visited the village to administer vaccination shots for tuberculosis, rotavirus and Hepatitis B. Fifty-two infants were vaccinated, but within hours adverse reactions were reported among more than half.
Two died the same day; the rest were hospitalized in Tuxtla Gutiérrez. Meanwhile, the vaccination program was haulted nation-wide as authorities worked to identify whether the vaccines were at fault.
But in Simojovel this morning it is the national health service that has been found at fault.
More than 2,000 people attended a Mass at a church where posters bearing the images of Yadira González González and Emmanuel Francisco López Hernández were displayed, carrying inscriptions that reflected the anger of the community.
“Why did you kill us? Why didn’t the government let us live?” read one, which also accused the health service of the deaths of the two babies, who were barely a month old.
More posters appeared during a march through the town and on to La Pimienta: “IMSS killed our children,” “Government, you killed our hopes,” and “We want justice and the truth.”
Health officials believe the truth is that the vaccines were fine, but contamination by the bacteria, which was identified through blood tests, occurred at some point during the vaccination procedure.
The Hepatitis B shots were the one common vaccine among all those who became ill, but an analysis by Cofepris, the Commission for Protection Against Sanitary Risk, found there had been no other cases of adverse reactions in the application of 100,000 doses from the same batch of vaccine throughout the country since last October.
IMSS will continue its investigation and arranging compensation for the affected families and their children, 27 of whom have been released from hospital. Only two remain under medical care, but their condition has been declared stable.
Source: Milenio (sp)