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Orange Walk infant dies suddenly

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Posted: Tuesday, March 30, 2021. 1:11 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: An Orange Walk family has been shaken by the death of a two-month-old baby over the weekend.

The mother, aged 17, is said to have found the girl unresponsive on Monday morning around 2 a.m. when her breastfeeding time was scheduled.

Controversially, her father has told CTV-3 News in Orange Walk Town that they had taken the baby to be vaccinated and she appeared fine before setting out, but seemed sad and withdrawn after coming back. She then caught a fever and ultimately passed on.

A post-mortem examination awaits, but her medical form noted that there were bruises on her back.

Police have been given details of what is a sudden death investigation. In a Monday press briefing, Assistant Commissioner of Police Joseph Myvette, in charge of the National Crimes Investigation Branch, confirmed that the injections were given at the village health center on Friday and that the baby’s health had deteriorated thereafter.

However, the senior officer noted, “It is normal that when a child receives their first vaccine it is followed by a bout of fever or whatever and that seems to have been the case.” Health authorities have yet to comment.

At birth, children are vaccinated for BCG and hepatitis B; at 2 months, they receive an array of shots for diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough (pertussis), hepatitis B-1; hemophilia influenza type B; inactivated polio, and optional shots for pneumococcal conjugate vaccine and rotavirus. These are repeated at three months and six months, and then booster shots for DTP and the MMR (measles/mumps/German rubella) vaccine are given at 12 and 18 months, followed by a final DTP booster at 4 years old. The seasonal influenza vaccine is also available starting at six months old.

As of 2020, Belize has maintained sustained vaccine coverage of 95 percent of the population for the past 10 years and vaccinates against a total of 13 diseases.

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