A vaccination tragedy is currently unfolding in Gouro, a small town in the African republic of Chad. Late last month, 500 children received the meningitis vaccine MenAfriVac and so far, at least 40 of them are confirmed to be paralyzed.
What’s more, the media trail for this disturbing incident in the former French colony has been all but sanitized with no news outlets save for the French newspaper La Voix reporting the story and the government of Chad desperately trying to silence the frantic parents of the paralyzed children by paying them hush money.
Adverse Reactions Began Within 24 Hours of Receiving Vaccine
One resident of Gouro who has 2 cousins who remain hospitalized from the vaccine, reported to La Voix that many of the paralyzed children began to have adverse reactions within 24 hours of the shot.
Headaches and vomiting were the first symptoms followed by convulsions and in at least 40 cases, paralysis.
The vaccination effort took place on December 20, 2012 and yet it was a full 6 days later on December 26, 2012 before Chad government authorities stepped in to transport 50 of the critically ill children to a hospital in N’Djamena, the capital of Chad.
Government authorities have also reportedly attempted to silence the aggrieved, frustrated, and angry parents by paying them hush money.
Mr. M, the resident of Gouro with 2 cousins in the hospital, responded in an email as reported in an article by Cristina England of VacTruth.org:
In addition, the government and the media have gone silent about the tragedy, while there are still facts requiring clarification whatever contingencies. All this disturbs us and makes us fear the worst effects for the future. For the not knowing of what is going on behind the scenes of the Minister of Health or elsewhere (WHO, UNICEF). As parents our priorities is that how to tell our children, it is very sad that entire city is paralyzed. We are begging our government act quickly as possible to save our children but it is too slow and lack of motivation. Therefore we call assistance for everyone in the world to intervene.
Many Unanswered Questions Remaining on This Incident
Information on this incident is proving hard to come by due to the sanitized media response to the tragedy. Why would such a shocking story not be covered by at least one major news agency?
Was this calamity the result of a bad batch of vaccine or were the vaccines simply not kept cold enough? The manufacturer of the vaccine states that MenAfriVac should be kept at one temperature range (36-46F) and yet the Meningitis Vaccine Project (MVP) proudly states on its website that:
MenAfriVac®, MVP scientists announce that the meningococcal A conjugate vaccine created to meet the needs of Africa’s meningitis belt can now be transported and stored for as long as four days without refrigeration or even an icepack.
The biggest questions, however, are why hasn’t this vaccination effort been suspended and why are no websites for the government of Chad reporting any reference to this incident as of today?
Is worldwide public opinion of vaccination so frayed and tenuous that even an incident in sub-Saharan Africa must now go unreported to avoid the fiendish truth – that over half a billion greedy, blood stained dollars are spent on an African meningitis vaccination campaign while pennies are spent on access to clean wells when UNICEF blames the disease outbreaks like meningitis on a simple lack of clean drinking water?
Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
Wigne, Danzabe and Byakzahbo, Anrde. “Numerous Children of Gouro Hospitalized After a Vaccination Campaign to Control Meningitis.” La Voix (for a scanned copy of the newspaper clipping, click here and scroll down).