Sunday March 18, 2018
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PM Modi urges Nepali counterpart to probe killing of Indian in firing


New Delhi/Kathmandu: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday called his Nepali counterpart K P Oli hours after police in the Himalayan country shot dead an Indian national during protests in the country’s Birgunj city close to the Indian border.

PM Modi reportedly strongly took up with Oli the killing of an Indian, urging him to investigate the same. In addition to this, India summoned Nepal ambassador Deep Kumar Upadhyaya, raising concerns over the firing incident that resulted in the death of an Indian identified as Asish Kumar Ram, 24.

The deceased belonged to Raxaul in Bihar.

Nepal’s Home Secretary Surya Silwal confirmed that a protester had been killed in a clash with police.

The man died after being caught in police firing near the Shankaracharya Gate, the main gateway to Nepal from India. He sustained bullet injuries on the head and was declared dead at the Narayani Hospital.

Its medical director Imamul Haq said Ram was dead even before reaching the hospital.

The police reportedly fired dozens of bullets and tear gas after being heavily pelted with stones by protesters near the Indian border.

Several protesters were injured by rubber bullets fired by the security forces, a police official said.

The Birgunj-Raxaul border point has come under the control of protesters, one account said.

Later, when the police chased them away, they reached the bridge that links Nepal and India.

They again stoned Nepal’s security forces from Indian territory, witnesses said.

All the major Nepal-India entry points have been tense for the past one and a half months after the promulgation of a new constitution in the Himalayan nation triggered protests in areas close to the Indian border.

The Madhesh-based political parties in Nepal are unhappy over the new constitution and the concept of federalism.

They have been demonstrating at the border points, choking the supply of essential supplies from India and causing widespread shortages.

Birgunj is a key point from where essential commodities and fuel from India enter Nepal.

Around 50 people have been killed in Nepal since the agitation began in Nepal’s southern plains.

(With inputs from IANS)

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Pentavalent vaccine: Doctors raise red flag

In spite of the data presented in this paper from a large cohort, the authors point out that the evidence is merely circumstantial and not conclusive

the new Hepatitis B vaccine for adults is called Heplisav-B.
India's PV to be reexamined because of its harmful effects. .
  • Pentavalent vaccine was introduced in India six years ago
  • It is since then have been a cause of many deaths
  • Doctors want it to be reexamined before continuing its use

Pentavalent vaccine (PV), that was introduced by India a little over six years ago, doubled the deaths of children soon after vaccination compared to the DPT (Diphtheria-Pertussis-Tetanus) vaccine, according to a new study that calls for a “rigorous review of the deaths following vaccination with PV”.

Health officials have launched a campaign targeting nearly 24 million people with a one-fifth dose of the vaccine. Wikimedia Commons
PV has been cause of many deaths in past years. Wikimedia Commons

Government records show that there were 10,612 deaths following vaccination (both PV and DPT) in the last 10 years. There was a huge increase in these numbers in 2017, which the Health Ministry has promised to study. “The present analysis could be a starting point in the quest to reduce the numbers of such deaths,” authors of the new study say.

The study by Dr Jacob Puliyel, Head of Pediatrics at St Stephens Hospital, and Dr V. Sreenivas, Professor of Biostatistics at the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), both in New Delhi, is published in the peer-reviewed Medical Journal of Dr D.Y. Patil University.

PV is a combination of the DPT vaccine and two more vaccines against Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib) and hepatitis B. Starting December 2011, PV was introduced into India’s immunisation programme to replace DPT vaccine in a staged manner with a view to adding protection against Hib and Hepatitis B without increasing the number of injections given to infants.

Doctors have raised concerns over these vaccines. Wikimedia Commons
Doctors have raised concerns over these vaccines. Wikimedia Commons

But sporadic reports of unexplained deaths following immunisation with PV had been a matter of concern. Puliyel, Sreenivas and their colleagues undertook the study to find out if these deaths were merely coincidental or vaccine-induced.

The authors obtained data of all deaths reported from April 2012 to May 2016 under the Right to Information Act. Data on deaths within 72 hours of administering DPT and PV from different states were used.

For their study, the authors assumed that all deaths within 72 hours of receiving DPT are natural deaths. Using this figure as the baseline, they presumed that any increase in the number of deaths above this baseline among children receiving PV must be caused by this vaccine.

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According to their analysis of the data provided by the government, there were 237 deaths within 72 hours of administering the Pentavalent vaccine — twice the death rate among infants who received DPT vaccine.

Extrapolating the data, the authors have estimated that vaccination of 26 million children each year in India would result in 122 additional deaths within 72 hours, due to the switch from DPT to PV.

“There is likely to be 7,020 to 8,190 deaths from PV each year if data from states with the better reporting, namely Manipur and Chandigarh, are projected nationwide,” their report says.

It is important to make sure that these vaccines are reexamined peroperly. VOA

The authors note that while the study looks at the short-term increase in deaths (within three days of vaccination) it does not calculate the potential benefits of PV on infant mortality, for example by protection against lethal diseases like Haemophilus influenza.

In spite of the data presented in this paper from a large cohort, the authors point out that the evidence is merely circumstantial and not conclusive. “These findings of differential death rates between DPT and PV do call for further rigorous prospective population-based investigations,” the study concludes. IANS