Fifteen children, all under the age of five, have died from blood infections in South Sudan after dirty needles were used to inject spoiled measles vaccines into their tiny bodies.
The vaccines were administered by children as young as twelve years old. The tainted vaccines made dozens more children very ill with fever, vomiting and diarrhea.
The risk of measles remains "extremely high" in war-torn South Sudan according to the United Nations.
Last year over 2,000 people there contracted measles, and 28 of them died. The nation is also dealing with severe famine and a cholera outbreak.
The botched vaccine incident happened in a rural town called Kapoeta, where about 300 youngsters received measles vaccines. Just one syringe was used for all of the children during the four-day campaign, and the vaccine was stored without refrigeration the entire time.
Despite this tragedy, the nationwide effort to vaccinate two million children will continue.
The government of South Sudan promises to investigate what went wrong and says it will determine whether victims' families will be compensated, despite the fact that the country is desperately poor.
Furthermore, Dr. Samson Baba, an immunization official in the ministry of health, refused to comment on the deaths earlier this week, instead demanding the source of the information, according to CBS News.
South Sudan has been embroiled in a bloody civil war for three years now, which has led to the deaths of tens of thousand of people and created the fastest-growing refugee crisis in the world, where nearly two million South Sudanese have fled the country.
South Sudan's government said vaccinations are not being denied to any part of the country, including those held by opposition forces.
The vaccines were provided by the U.N. children's agency. The World Health Organization apparently trained some South Sudan health officials about how to properly administrate the vaccines.