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Health Ministry clears air on child’s death

May 27, 2024

The Ministry of Health and Wellness has responded to what it calls “serious misleading allegations” in the public domain, about the death of an 8-month-old child.

A voice note circulating on social media suggests the baby boy died after receiving a measles mumps and rubella or MMR vaccine in March this year.

In a statement, Senior Medical Officer of Health, Dr Ingrid Cumberbatch, confirmed an eight-month-old child was referred to the Accident and Emergency Department of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital last Thursday, May 23rd.

She notes the child was unconscious on arrival and died after failed resuscitation efforts.

That full Statement from the Ministry of Health and Wellness follows.  

The Ministry of Health and Wellness wishes to address recent extremely serious misleading allegations which have been placed in the public domain, following the unfortunate and tragic death of an 8-month-old child.
On Thursday, May 23, 2024 an 8-month-old child was referred to the Accident and Emergency Department (AED) of the Queen Elizabeth by a private medical practitioner. The child arrived at the AED in an unconscious state and died following failed resuscitation efforts.
It is known that in keeping with common practice for children of such age, the child had been immunised. The immunisations were administered at the St. Philip Polyclinic including the 2, 4- and 6-month vaccines, with the last dose being administered on April 2, 2024.
The MHW however wishes to clearly state that the child had not received the MMR vaccines as being misleadingly stated in the public domain. The policy of the MHW is that minimum age at which this vaccine is administered to children is one year of age.
In keeping with the Laws of Barbados, in cases of sudden and unnatural death an autopsy will be conducted to determine the cause of this unfortunate death. The MHW takes this opportunity to extend its condolences to the family of the deceased child.
Vaccines have been issued by the expanded programme of immunisation in Barbados since the late 1970s. The vaccines used locally have been demonstrated to be effective at reducing the risk of disease. The Ministry of Health and Wellness reminds parents to keep their children’s vaccinations up-to-date according to the recommended schedule to minimize the risk of vaccine-preventable diseases.
The Ministry further wants to clarify that incorrect information on COVID deaths in the public domain. These numbers stand at 648 with no deaths in the last reporting period of April 13th and May 10th. The COVID19 vaccine was made available to the public by Ministry of Health and Wellness during the pandemic as part of its commitment to use evidence-based measures to reduce the risk of severe illness and death.
The MHW urges members of the public to desist from spreading alarm amongst the population through the practice of maliciously circulating misinformation.

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