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Syrian Children Die From Tainted Measles Vaccine


Voice of America
By Lisa Schlein

The World Health Organization and U.N. Children’s Fund say they are investigating the deaths of at least 15 children from contaminated measles vaccines in Syria. They say they have suspended the immunization campaign in both Idlib and Deir Ezzour provinces in northern Syria until the matter is resolved.

The U.N. agencies say they are shocked and saddened by the deaths of the children - all under the age of two - from measles vaccines that apparently were contaminated. The deaths occurred in the northern Syrian city of Idlib.

World Health Organization spokesman Christian Lindmeier said the children apparently had been given the wrong vaccine. He said a preliminary investigation indicates some 75 children had been immunized with a vaccine containing Atracurium, a muscle relaxant normally used as an anesthetic in surgery.

“The children who got vaccinated immediately got contaminated. As this muscle relaxant works according to the weight, this is why all the deaths occurred… in children under two years of age," said Lindmeier. "The older ones survived with symptoms of diarrhea, vomiting and anaphylactic reactions. But, they survived because of their stronger bodies.”

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