South Sudan: 15 children die in botched vaccine campaign

15 Children Die After Measles Vaccination In Kapoeta

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Fifteen young children have died in a botched measles vaccination campaign that saw people as young as 12 years old administering the vaccines, South Sudan's government announced Friday.

A report prepared by specialists said the children, all reportedly under the age of five, died from severe sepsis toxicity as a result of the vaccine's contamination, caused by repeated use of an unsterilized syringe.

The untrained vaccination team used a single reconstitution syringe for multiple vaccine vials throughout the entire four-day campaign, and kept vaccines in a building without adequate cold storage facilities.

Last month, the health ministry and partners launched an ambitious campaign to vaccinate over 2.3 million children against measles across war-torn South Sudan. About 300 children were targeted in the area where the children's deaths occurred.

South Sudanese Health Minister Kok also noted that the team that administered the vaccines was not well-trained. Fever, vomiting and diarrhea were observed in 32 other children in the same rural village of Nachodokopele, but these patients later recovered.

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Furthermore, Dr. Samson Baba, an immunization official in the ministry of health, refused to comment on the deaths earlier this week, instead demanding the source of the information, according to CBS News.

The organisation provides some training to South Sudan's health officials, while the United Nations children's agency provides the vaccines.

A nurse immunizes a young girl for measles at International Medical Corps' clinic in Gendrassa camp in Maban, Upper Nile State, South Sudan, on the border with Sudan, August 1, 2012. Tens of thousands of people have been killed in fighting.

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