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Polio Vaccine or Vitamin A?Subject: VERY SUSPICIOUS - Polio Vaccine or Vitamin A Killing Kids in India
Date: Wed, 14 Nov 2001 21:49:53 -0800
This is just TOO hot!!!! ~catching the "devil doers" in the act.....
To summarize what Meryl Dorey [Australian Vaccine Network] has just found out.......
I am extremely suspicious. First Meryl Nass, MD posts the polio vaccine damage story and I pass it around, then Meryl Dorey writes Henry Huang who posted the BBC story on Promed and then Henry writes back - see that conversation at the bottom of this email.
Reinvention of history possibly going on right before our eyes. First it is the polio vaccine and now blaming it on Vitamin A - very fishy - we know this goes on but never caught them in the act before.
1. First there was the following report on BBC which was then posted on
ProMEd - Polio vaccines causing death and injury in India
3. Then BBC totally changes the page that had the story of the
polio deaths to one that blames it on Vitamin A
4. New Pro Med article
2. First Promed article based on BBC page that is no longer there
Date: Tue, 13 Nov 2001 22:20:09 -0500 (EST)
POLIOMYELITIS, VACCINATION DEATHS - INDIA (ASSAM)
[see also: 2000
Date: Mon 12 Nov 2001 23:22:27 -0600
Morbidity and Mortality after Polio vaccination in Assam
On Sunday, thousands of children were administered a polio vaccine throughout Assam and the rest of the country. But within a day of the massive polio immunisation campaign, reports have come in of large-scale side effects in and around the city of Silchar in southern Assam. Officials say 9 children have died in one village -- Labok -- while one died in Malugram locality of Silchar.
Non-governmental organisations in Silchar who assist the government in this campaign say outdated vaccines were possibly supplied in some areas. But officials were not willing to speculate on the causes of the large-scale side effects.
[Byline: Subir Bhaumik]
Henry V. Huang
[Dr. Huang comments that: The children became sick the day after the
vaccine campaign, so it's unlikely that the vaccine per se is the problem.
However, potential problems with that batch of vaccines, e.g.,
contamination, failure of cold chain, etc., are possible. - Mod.CP]
4. 2nd Promed article blaming Vitamin A
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Date: Tue, 13 Nov 2001 23:05:10 -0500 (EST)
UNEXPLAINED ILLNESS, CHILDREN - INDIA (ASSAM)
Date: 13 Nov 2001 10:59 AM ET
Medical workers gave the vitamin A, supplied by U.N. humanitarian agency UNICEF, to 321 000 children up to the age of 6 to ward off blindness in the northeastern state of Assam, state officials said. "At present there are 700 children hospitalized in different parts of the state and they are not in a serious condition," state Health Minister Bhumidhar Burman told a news conference. He said a 2-year-old girl died 2 hours after she was given a dose of vitamin A Sunday, adding earlier reports up to 10 000 children might have been affected by the concentrated vitamin A solution were unfounded.
Vitamin A is regarded by doctors as a simple, cost-effective way of preventing blindness among poor families, whose diets often lack vitamins.
Parents rushed the children suffering from fever, vomiting and stomach pains to hospitals after vitamin A was given, said Dr. B.C. Kro, head of state health services.
UNICEF regional officer Carrie Auer, speaking at a news conference in the capital of the tea- and oil-rich state, denied allegations by police that the vitamin A batch was contaminated. Burman said samples had been sent for testing and the government had banned use of the vitamin A solution until the results were known. Auer said the batch was "not contaminated but fine as the products were manufactured in the months of June and August," adding the agency was "seriously looking into the incident."
In Geneva, UNICEF spokeswoman Wivina Belmonte said that the agency eagerly awaited the results of the investigation by Assam's Health Ministry. "This was the third round of Vitamin A administration in Assam this year. There were no complications from the others. In past year, a total of 35 million Indian children have received doses to prevent blindness," Belmonte told a news briefing.
Kro said the children may have received an overdose. He said a preliminary investigation had showed the doses were not contaminated and the expiration date on the vitamin was 2003. "There must be something wrong with the amount of medicine given to the children," Kro said. "A child up to the age of one year needs only 10 milliliters (2 teaspoons) while a child between one to 5 years requires 20 milliliters (4 teaspoons). ... These children were probably given more."
Probe ordered into vitamin A deaths
The UNICEF-Assam campaign has been stopped and all remaining stocks have been seized. "If required we would not hesitate to hand over the inquiry to the CBI," said health minister Bhumidar Burman.
It is said that vitamin A dose supplied by UNICEF and a changed spoon of bigger size might have resulted in an overdose, admitted the state health minister Dr Bhumidar Barman.
Das [deputy commissioner, Cachar] said that a large number of people were rushing to the district hospitals with their children, making it almost impossible for them to [be adequately cared for]. "We have requisitioned help from the army, medical college, and other places and admitted, at least, 500 small children who had developed serious symptoms," he said.
In Nagaon also, it is the same story. There are more than 500 cases in the district alone, while in Nagaon town hospital 6 children with serious symptoms are undergoing treatment.
Talking to the press, Dr Barman said: "It is true that after vitamin A is administered to children who are weak and suffer from malnutrition, they can have after-effects like pain in the abdomen, vomiting and high fever."
UNICEF supplies earlier used to come with a spoon meant for the exact dose of vitamin A. It is for the first time that the spoon size was changed to one capable of holding 5 ml, which is 2-1/2 times more than the normal dose. Carrie Auer, UNICEF's state representative in Kolkata, admitted that this was for the first time that the changed spoon has been used for administering the doses.
[Byline: P P Singh]
[As with many press reports it is difficult to figure out what is going on in this current report. This report mentions an outbreak of a febrile illness associated with vomiting and abdominal pain felt to be temporally related to receipt of Vitamin A supplement in a state-wide program. There is speculation in the article that the illness is due to a contaminated batch of the vitamin supplement or due to an overdose administered.
Ruling out a contamination based on the recent production of the vitamin is less than confirmatory. The latter situation postulated, an overdose, has been a concern in evaluations of Vitamin A supplementation programs in the field, especially for the population less than 6 months old. The second article suggests a recent change in administration spoon, which may have facilitated administration of a higher than recommended dose.
Vitamin A deficiency (VAD) is the leading cause of preventable blindness in
children. It has been associated with an increase in risk of disease and
death from severe infections. Measles mortality and diarrheal
disease-related mortality have been shown to be associated with VAD. In
addition, VAD is associated with night blindness in pregnant women, and
there is some evidence to suggest there may be an increased risk of
maternal mortality associated with VAD. There is a WHO-sponsored program
to combat VAD
Side-effects of Vitamin A supplementation have been reported. In children
ages 6 to 59 months, loose stools, headache, irritability, fever, nausea
and vomiting in 1.5 to 7 percent of children. These side-effects disappear
within 24-48 hours without special treatment. In infants under 6 months of
age there has been an increase incidence of transient bulging fontanelle
reported in 0.5 to 10 percent of recipients.
More information on this outbreak and the outcome of the investigations would be appreciated. - Mod.MPP
Some selected references on VAD and Vitamin A supplementation.
1. Beaton GH, Martorell R. Aronson KA et al. Effectiveness of vitamin A
supplementation in the control of young child morbidity and mortality in
developing countries. Toronto, Canada: University of Toronto, 1993.
2. Mahalanabis D, Bhan MK. Micronutrients as adjunct therapy of acute illness in children: impact on the episode outcome and policy implications of current findings. Br J Nutr. 2001 May;85 Suppl 2:S151-8.
3. Tomkins A. Malnutrition, morbidity and mortality in children and their mothers. Proc Nutr Soc. 2000 Feb;59(1):135-46.
4. Humphrey JH, West KP Jr, Sommer A. Vitamin A deficiency and attributable mortality among under-5-year-olds. Bull World Health Organ. 1992;70(2):225-32.
5. Semba RD. Vitamin A, immunity, and infection. Clin Infect Dis. 1994 Sep;19(3):489-99.
6. Sommer A. Vitamin A, infectious disease, and childhood mortality: a 2 solution? J Infect Dis. 1993 May;167(5):1003-7.
7. Fawzi WW, Chalmers TC, Herrera MG, Mosteller F. Vitamin A supplementation and child mortality. A meta-analysis. JAMA. 1993 Feb 17;269(7):898-903.
8. Glasziou PP, Mackerras DE. Vitamin A supplementation in infectious
diseases: a meta-analysis. BMJ. 1993 Feb 6;306(6874):366-70.]
Visit ProMED-mail's web site at
History being rewritten even as we speak! Quickly going to download those links before they take them off too!
Dear Ms. Dorey,
I do not have first hand knowledge of the details. I came across the report from the BBC, thought it of interest to others, and so forwarded it to Promed.
As it turned out, the BBC report might be inaccurate, instead the
cause might be vitamin A that was given to the children (see Promed:
The BBC web page has since been amended to take the blame off of the vaccine (although many of the links to poliovirus/vaccine in the sidebar are still there).
Subject: Predicted Followup from WHO on "Polio Vac" Deaths in India
Date: Wed, 14 Nov 2001 22:16:28 -0800
INDIA: UNICEF, WHO Reject Link Between Polio Vaccine, Child Illnesses Officials from the World Health Organization and UNICEF have categorically denied any link between the oral polio vaccine and children becoming ill this week in the northeastern Indian state of Assam, as reported by BBC and local media Monday.
Some media sources have publicly apologized for making any link between the oral polio vaccine and hundreds of children who have become ill in the region, said UNICEF spokeswoman Liza Barrie.
Any link between the illnesses and the oral polio vaccine is "completely incorrect" and "wrong," said WHO official Christine McNabb, who said the last polio vaccination campaign in the area was completed months ago. According to McNabb, there may have been confusion between Vitamin A and the oral polio vaccine, which are both given in oral formulation, and are often administered together in joint campaigns.
UNICEF is investigating the possibility of a link between liquid doses of vitamin A that were given to children in the region as part of the third round of an anti-blindness campaign and the illnesses that have left one 2-year-old child dead and hundreds of children hospitalized. According to Barrie, there were no problems after the two earlier rounds of the anti-blindness campaign, and most of the 700 children who became sick have already been released from the hospital. UNICEF plans to send a team tomorrow, composed of outside experts and UNICEF officials, to work with the government and discover the exact cause of the illnesses, Barrie added. She also refuted the possibility that the vitamin A supply was outdated, saying the supply had undergone extensive quality control checks (Scott Hartmann, UN Wire, Nov. 14).
Ingri Cassel, President
Vaccination Liberation - Idaho Chapter