WHO To Investigate Vaccine Mix-Up That Killed At Least 15 Children In Syria

News outlets report on the death of at least 15 Syrian children after they were administered a contaminated measles vaccine.

Associated Press: 15 Syrian children die after getting vaccinations
“At least 15 children died after receiving vaccinations in rebel-held parts of northwestern Syria, while the death toll from two days of government airstrikes on a central city climbed to nearly 50, a heavy toll even by the vicious standards of the country’s civil war, activists said…” (Hadid, 9/17).

The Guardian: Measles vaccination mix-up leaves 15 infants dead in northern Syria
“Medics carrying out a measles vaccination in northern Syria instead administered an anesthetic to up to 75 infants, killing 15, a preliminary investigation into their deaths has found. … The error is believed to have occurred because the packaging of the anesthetic drug was similar to that of the solution used to mix the measles vaccination…” (Chulov/Beals, 9/17).

New York Times: Bad Vaccine Kills Dozens of Children Inside Syria
“An improperly mixed or possibly sabotaged measles vaccine has killed as many as 50 children in insurgent-held areas of northwestern Syria, volunteer medical organizations and physicians reported Wednesday, forcing the suspension of a large-scale United Nations vaccination campaign intended to stop the spread of measles, rubella, and polio…” (Gladstone/Saad, 9/17).

Reuters: Measles vaccination campaign halted in northern Syria after 15 children die
“Fifteen children died after being vaccinated against measles in northern Syria, resulting in the program being halted, aid workers said on Wednesday, a tragedy likely to damage trust in health services in opposition-held areas…” (Afanasieva, 9/17).

UNICEF: Joint WHO-UNICEF statement regarding deaths of children in Idlib, northern Syria
“UNICEF and WHO have been shocked and saddened to learn of the deaths of at least 15 young children in Idlib, Syria. The deaths of the children occurred in areas where a measles immunization campaign had been under way. Establishing the precise cause of the children’s deaths is vital. To that end, the WHO has deployed a team of experts to provide assistance to those carrying out the investigation in Idlib who will report back as soon as possible. WHO is also providing advice and protocols for the investigation of adverse events following immunization…” (9/17).

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