UNITED NATIONS. KAZINFORM Some 100 children have died in the Syrian opposition-controlled areas of the north-western Idlib province where the UN measles vaccination campaign was held, Syrian Ambassador to the UN Bashar Jaafari said on Wednesday.
Earlier media reports suggested 40 children died following measles vaccination.
The diplomat told Itar-Tass that he had information about the death of 100 children. Jaafari said the tainted vaccine was made in Turkey. He said Syria urged the World Health Organisation (WHO) to investigate the incident, ITAR-TASS reports.
The Syrian ambassador to the UN put the blame for the children’s death on UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos. He said the tragedy occurred through Amos’ fault because she insisted on co-operating with the terrorists in that region.
Despite rumors of sabotage, health experts believe that it was a bad batch of vaccines.
By Aileen Graef | Sept. 17, 2014 at 9:48 AM
ALEPPO, Syria, Sept. 17 (UPI) — At least 36 children are dead after receiving tainted measles vaccines at U.N. clinics Monday night in the rebel-held region of Syria.The children were injected with the vaccines before quickly falling ill and dying in what was described as an “excruciating” manner. The program has been shut down since rumors of sabotage spread throughout the country to prevent the worsening of the civil war’s death toll from the outbreak of measles.
“It’s very bad. The figures of dead we are getting go into the 30s. Children are dying very quickly,” Daher Zidan, the coordinator of the medical charity Uossm, told The Telegraph. “We think it will get worse.”
Health experts say it was likely a contaminated batch of vaccines and a major setback to an effort praised by the World Health Organization (WHO) to vaccinate 1.6 million children.
Local governments are investigating the incident to find out how the two batches were tainted.
The UN has halted a measles vaccination campaign in northern Syria after at least 15 children died after receiving shots, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed in a joint statement.
“UNICEF and WHO have been shocked and saddened to learn of the deaths of at least 15 young children in Idlib, Syria,” the statement said. “The deaths of the children occurred in areas where a measles immunization campaign had been under way.”
The children were all under the age of two, Reuters reported, citing aid workers.
Around one hour after being given a second round of the measles vaccine in Idlib on Tuesday, the children demonstrated signs of “severe allergic shock,” said Abdullah Ajaj, a physician administering the vaccinations at a medical center in Jarjanaz, according to AP. The second round of vaccinations began in Idlib and Deir Ezzour on Monday.