Mystery Surrounds Polio Jabs Incident

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By Mbatjiua Ngavirue Windhoek An incident in Gobabis in which children were allegedly vaccinated for polio by means of an injection during the first polio vaccination campaign is still shrouded in mystery. The children are alleged to have received the injections from an unknown group of “light-skinned” people driving around Gobabis in a kombi during the first round of the mass polio vaccination. The people in the vehicle allegedly gave children from the Epako Junior Secondary School in Gobabis injections of a reddish coloured liquid. This was supposed to have taken place after school hours, and the story only became known when one of the children became ill and started vomiting. Parents of the children took the matter up with the principal of the school, who told them that since the incident occurred after school hours, they should take it up with the police. The National Institute of Pathology (NIP) in Gobabis is apparently carrying out tests on a blood sample from one of the children to find out what substance they were injected with. A source at Gobabis hospital confirmed that a sample was sent to NIP and that they were still awaiting the result. Permanent Secretary of Health, Dr Kalumbi Shangula, yesterday confirmed his ministry was informed of the alleged incident. He could not disclose further details, saying only that the matter was handed over to the police for further investigation. Dr Shangula did however point out that it was not the official policy of his ministry to give polio vaccinations by injection, but only through oral drops. The investigating officer in charge of the case in Gobabis, Detective Inspector Isaak refused to give any information. He referred all inquiries to police headquarters in Windhoek. Police spokesperson at headquarters, Deputy Commissioner Hieronymus Goraseb could not be reached for comment late yesterday afternoon.