The Kenya Paediatric Association (KPA) says the polio vaccine given to children under 5 years in the past two weeks is safe.

Image/Robert Herriman
Image/Robert Herriman

The association issued a statement after some parents complained that their children had fallen ill after receiving the oral vaccine.

Some parents reported their children as presenting symptoms that included convulsion, diarrhoea, fever and vomiting.

However, the KPA said suggestions that the polio vaccine caused the illnesses were unfounded, noting that the illnesses may be related to influenza since the vaccine was administered in winter.  

“The mass vaccination campaign may have caused increasing interaction among children, mobilisers and vaccinators, with the heightened spread of flu and increased incidence of the same,” the association said.

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The illnesses could be coincidental occurrences of flu infection at the time of vaccination.  The association said symptoms such as vomiting and fever are not known symptoms of side-effects of the oral polio vaccine.

The symptoms, which have never been reported in previous immunization campaigns, should be investigated to determine whether they emerging strains of known diseases.