Health Ministry: 15 children killed by vaccines administered by “Coalition”

Damascus, SANA- Fifteen children died and scores others suffered suffocation in areas east of Maaret al-Nou’man in Idleb countryside, the health ministry said on Thursday.

The deaths and suffocation happened after the so-called opposition’s “Coalition,” aided and abetted by the Turkish authorities, administered measles vaccines to the children. The circumstances of the incident remain unclear.

“The ministry condemns in no uncertain terms the inhumane practices of the Coalition and its Turkish backers, and everyone involved in this tragedy,” said the Ministry in a statement, denouncing the facilitation and distribution of internationally-controlled vaccines and medicine which wind down in the hands of persons and groups who are “clueless as to the simplest rules of medicine as a profession and medical work” which it described as a breach of international law and the principles and conventions guiding international relations.

“This, however, puts at risk the locals in these areas due to the dangers of the unsafe usage of medicine and vaccines, and jeopardizes public health,” added the statement.

The ministry warned the locals living in areas adjacent to the Turkish frontier from taking any medicine or vaccines which the Turkish authorities deliver, stressing that it will pull out all the stops to deliver medicine and vaccines to the locals in cooperation with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent organization and the international health organizations in Syria.

Vaccinating children requires that the medics who administer vaccines meet certain technical standards and conditions, and have the skills and expertise necessary for the job.

The ministry urged the international community to denounce the “unethical and inhumane” stance of one of the Coalition’s representatives in Gaziantep who “showed reprehensible immorality vis-à-vis this tragedy” by promising financial compensations for the children’s families.

“No financial compensation or honeyed talk can make amends for this loss or heal the wounds of bereaved mothers,” the ministry stated in its statement.

The ministry urged international health organizations to condemn this tragedy and investigate its circumstances as to prevent such reckless acts being repeated, demanding that the health ministry’s immunization campaigns and efforts to reach all affected areas be supported.

The ministry underscored keenness to protect children’s health by launching periodical vaccination campaigns and dispatching immunization teams and vaccines to the “hotspots” across the country.

Manal Ismael / Hazem Sabbagh

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