Yavatmal, Feb 1 (IANS) In a shocking lapse, at least 12 kids were administered hand sanitizer instead of the oral polio vaccine drops at a Primary Health Centre in Ghatanji's Kapsi-Kopari village in the district, officials said here on Monday.
Taking cognisance of the incident, the district health authorities late on Monday suspended three nurses after a preliminary investigation.
The incident took place on Sunday when over 2,000 small children aged 1-5 years had gathered along with their parents for the polio vaccination programme under the national immunization drive, launched in the morning.
According to officials, some of the kids were given oral drops of sanitizers instead of the polio drops after which many complained of nausea, cramps and started vomiting, sparking panic among the parents and health officials there.
All the children, aged between 1-5 years, were rushed to the Vasantrao Naik Government Medical College & Hospital for treatment.
"All the children are now stable and improving. They are being kept under constant observation. Depending on their condition, we shall consider discharging them on Tuesday evening," VNGMCH Dean Dr Milind Kamble told IANS.
On the possible repercussions of oral intake of hand-sanitizing liquids, the Dean said that though it is not fatal, it contains around 70 percent alcohol which may create health complications, especially among children, as in the present instance.
Yavatmal Collector M. Devender Singh visited the hospital on Sunday night and enquired about the condition of the children.
He ordered the Zilla Parishad CEO Shrikrishna Panchal to visit the village and investigate the incident and after his preliminary probe, three nurses on duty at the time have been suspended.
Farmers leader from Yavatmal and Vasantrao Naik Sheti Swavlamban Mission President Kishore Tiwari suspects it could be a case of "deliberate sabotage" and plans to visit the affected village on Tuesday for a spot assessment.
Panchal said that the nurses apparently mistook bottles of sanitisers placed nearby to be the vaccine drops and administered them to the unsuspecting kids even as another three health workers are under the scanner for the lapse.
The incident came a day after the Polio National Immunization Day (January 31), which was launched by President R. N. Kovind at Rashtrapati Bhavan on Saturday.