29 children gravely ill, 2 die in Mexico vaccination program

Infant vaccines have been suspended throughout Mexico after bad reactions kill two babies and sicken 29 other children.

The country’s national vaccination program was distributing vaccines in the rural mining community of La Pimienta where 52 children were immunized. Of the 52, 31 children became ill. Two of them later died.

Mexican Social Security Institute says the children “presented adverse reactions presumably associated with the application of these vaccines.”

Mexico’s public health system has mounted an investigation. Reports say that the 29 children are in grave condition. The vaccinations were being distributed near Chiapas, an impoverished part of the country.

The parents of the two infants who died were so outraged at the government that they refused to let authorities perform autopsies, CNNMexico reported.

The children were being vaccinated against rotavirus, tuberculosis and Hepatitis B, which are normally given to children between the ages of 0 and 6 months.

The Mexican Institute for Social Security said that the causes for the adverse reactions are still unknown, although they have found which batches the bad vaccines came from. They’re also investigating the needles used in the vaccinations and the possibility that a virus or bacteria could have caused the illnesses. As a precaution, the institute said it has stopped distributing the vaccines on a nationwide level.

Residents of La Pimienta told CNNMexico the vaccinations were offered Friday when officials came to the community and announced over loudspeakers that vaccines would be given to newborns.

Reports state that the vaccines were being distrusted on Friday and that the children became sick within a few hours of being vaccinated. The babies were taken to a hospital in Simojovel, Chiapas. According to government statistics, 93 percent of the population lives in poverty while 69 percent are said to live in extreme poverty.

Rev. Marcelo Perez, a Roman Catholic priest, said that the hospital “doesn’t have adequate personnel or equipment.”

“The real problem is the terrible conditions we have … so that when a baby comes in with convulsions, he leaves dead.”

In a joint statement given Sunday, both the state and federal government are ensuring the best medical care for the babies and they will stay in contact to answer parent’s questions.

Perez said he was helping the families collect as much information as possible in order to help officials find the cause of the reactions.

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