Botched measles vaccines claimed the lives of 15 South Sudanese children near the Kenyan border, health officials said on Friday.
Dr. Riek Gai Kok, the health minister, told reporters in the capital Juba that in Kapoeta East County, a single syringe had been used to inject the vaccine to numerous children, and the vaccine had not been stored properly.
Some of the health workers administering the vaccine were as young as 12 years old, he added.
Blaming the deaths on human error, he said that the team administering the vaccine was neither qualified nor trained.
“The vaccine was intended to help, not kill the children,” Kok said.
The fatalities include infants, and 32 other children have been affected by the virus.
The Health Ministry has commissioned a committee to review the incident and recommend possible compensation for the victims' families.
The deaths have raised concerns over the nationwide vaccination campaign targeting 2.3 million children under the age of 5.
More than three years of civil war has punctured an already fragile health system in South Sudan, leading to a rise in preventable diseases like malaria, measles and cholera.
Measles is a highly contagious infection and an outbreak can result in deaths in children.