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In December 2012, vaccine tragedy hit the small village of Gouro, Chad, Africa, situated on the edge of the Sahara Desert. Five hundred children were locked into their school, threatened that if they did not agree to being force-vaccinated with a meningitis A vaccine, they would receive no further education. These children were vaccinated without their parents’ knowledge. This vaccine was an unlicensed product still going through the third and fourth phases of testing.
Within hours, one hundred six children began to suffer from headaches, vomiting, severe uncontrollable convulsions and paralysis. The children’s wait for a doctor began. They had to wait one full week for a doctor to arrive while the team of vaccinators just carried on vaccinating others from the village. More children became sick.
When the doctor finally came, he could do nothing for the children. The team of vaccinators, upon seeing what had happened, fled the village in fear.
Chad's government on Tuesday said a team of international experts have not been able to find any links between the hospitalisation of 38 children and their recent vaccinations against meningitis.
The children fell ill in the northern village of Gouro and were admitted to hospital after being vaccinated in a government campaign against the disease between December 11 and 15.
In a statement, the country's health ministry said tests "failed to establish a causal link between the clinical manifestations observed in the patients and the MenAfriVac vaccine."
Health Minister Mamouth Nahor N'Gawara said tests by experts at the World Health Organisation showed there was "no manufacturing fault" in the vaccine produced by the Serum Institute of India.
According to the statement, one child who never received the meningitis shot "complained of suffering from the same symptoms" found in the other children.