A committee that was looking into the causes of death of five infants that reportedly died after they were immunised at State hospitals, has concluded that the deaths were not vaccine-related or due to programme errors.
The committee established that two of the infants from Rehoboth died as a result of malnutrition while the third one, also from Rehoboth, died from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, which is commonly referred to as ‘cot death’ or septicaemia.
Deputy Minister of Health and Social Services, Julieta Kavetuna, told Parliament on Wednesday, that the fourth death reported from Rehoboth was a result of Streptococcus Pneumonia Bacterial Meningitis, while the other infant’s death in Windhoek was caused by bronchopneumonia.
The ministry instituted an investigation into the death of the five infants after their parents blamed the healthcare facilities for their deaths.
Three of the five children were vaccinated during a routine vaccination at six weeks of age, while two were vaccinated during the National Measles Rubella Supplementary Immunization campaign that took place last year. The investigations were carried out by the National Adverse Event Following Immunization (AEFI) Committee, which was established in 2015 with a mandate to investigate any serious AEFI cases reported.
Last year, some of the parents of the deceased infants approached the Legal Assistance Centre for help to sue the Government.
Deaths in children following immunisation in Namibia were first reported in 2006; and from that time, 21 children have since suffered complications and subsequent death related to vaccinations.
A local forensic pathologist, Dr Yury Vasin, was reported last year saying the rate at which babies were dying after vaccinations was a cause for concern.
The doctor, who performed post-mortems on several of the children in Windhoek, said publicly that the death rate from vaccines administered at age 6-12 weeks was unacceptably high.
He claimed that the babies had identical symptoms before they died soon after being vaccinated, adding that it was more than a coincidence.
The post-mortems were commissioned by the deceased’s parents.