Hundreds of school girls have been hospitalised after receiving the diphtheria-tetanus vaccine in Bata, the economic capital of Equatorial Guinea., health ministry announced on Thursday.
On Wednesday, “102 girls from eleven schools in Bata were received at the Damian Roku Epitie Monanga regional hospital in Bata with the following symptoms: dizziness, agitation, weakness, headaches and pain in the left arm.
Among the patients, 99 had been vaccinated between 16 and 18 May with diphtheria/tetanus vaccine,” explained Deputy Health Minister Mitoha Ondo’o Ayekaba, in a statement read out on national television.
The next day, “a total of 223 cases were registered in hospital, of which 190 were vaccinated and 33 non-vaccinated and presented the same symptoms” as the day before,
No deaths have been recorded, he added.
Of the 7,000 young women vaccinated as part of the African Vaccination Week in Equatorial Guinea with the same batch of vaccines (D2511), only 1.4% have experienced adverse reactions, according to health authorities.
A group of experts from the World Health Organisation (WHO) is nevertheless expected in the next few days to analyse the batch of vaccines used and to make a possible link with the hospitalisations.
Diphtheria/tetanus vaccine is given to young women of childbearing age to prevent neonatal tetanus.
It protects them and their newborns who do not yet have the immune capacity to defend themselves.