A toddler from Nazareth died Thursday at home, three days after receiving a swine flu vaccination at Rambam Medical Center in Haifa.
The two-year-old, who had a pacemaker and had been undergoing weekly dialysis at Rambam, had been inoculated in the pediatric nephrology department where she was being treated.
However the vaccine was allegedly given against Health Ministry regulations, which permit only children over the age of 3 to receive the shots currently available in Israel.
The vaccines now being given in Israel contain adjuvant, which helps improve the immune system. However, this component has not been proven safe for children under 3 and pregnant women, therefore Israel and some other countries, Canada, for example, are not inoculating these groups with vaccines containing adjuvent. Vaccines without this component are to arrive in Israel starting next week.
An autopsy performed Thursday at the Abu Kabir Institute of Forensic Medicine in Tel Aviv revealed that the toddler died of complications from her kidney condition, not from the vaccine. The institute said the results of additional tests would be ready in about a week.
The Health Ministry said that more than 65 million people have been inoculated worldwide without incident, including many children, and that the vaccine meets all standards of safety and efficiency and is recommended by the World Health Organization.
Rambam Medical Center released the following statement: "Although there is apparently no connection between the toddler's death and the inoculation, the hospital director instructed that immediate clarification be undertaken of the events in the days preceding her death. We all hope that the autopsy will help clarify the reasons for her death."
This is the third death following inoculation against swine flu in Israel. The first, soon after the inoculations started, was a 75-year-old Bat Yam dialysis patient who died three days after receiving the shot in the hospital. At the beginning of this week, a 57-year-old dialysis patient died at Soroka Medical Center in Beer Sheva, two weeks after receiving the vaccine.
Out of some 10,000 Israelis who have so far been vaccinated, the Health Ministry said this week that there have been 43 reported cases of side effects from the inoculation, including several cases involving swelling and redness around the site of the shot, respiratory distress, allergies and headaches; one patient complained of limited hand movement.
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