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Can vaccinations be fatal in children?

Q: My friend's son (1.5 years old) expired last week. He had no prior health problem. He visited the paediatrician for polio vaccination and thereafter had vomiting & loose motions. He was admitted to a hospital and we were informed that there was a severe viral infection that has infected the brain & kidney. After being on ventilator for 24 hours and 4 units of FFP being injected nothing materialised. I want to understand whether it can be purely a viral infection or was it because of improper vaccination? Can viral infection be so severe that there is no remedy?

A:It is difficult to give a very specific answer without knowing the clinical details of the illness and the investigations done on the child. Episodes of severe brain involvement including paralysis is known to occur after polio vaccination, but is very rare. In general it is considered to be a safe vaccine. It is more possible that the child was incubating an infection and the vaccination was incidental. There are several viruses known to infect the brain and some of them are very severe. Some of them can lead on to kidney failure terminally. Specific antiviral medications are available against some of them.

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