17 Chinese babies sick after expired injections

Beijing: 17 babies fell ill and a 13-month-old boy went into coma after they were allegedly injected with expired medicine at a hospital in China`s Heilongjiang province.

The babies were diagnosed with various medical problems including coughing and breathing difficulty at the Harbin Infectious Disease Hospital, shortly after they were injected with the medicine intended to treat symptoms caused by measles, Global Times reported Thursday.

The hospital apologised to parents after they blocked the hospital gate. It also sacked three nurses and suspended a head nurse.

The injections, made in Jiangsu province, were manufactured in May 2008 and expired in December 2009. However, the local health authority said the injections should not be blamed for causing those symptoms.

"Three of the 17 babies have been cured and already left the hospital, while the others are still staying for further medical observation," a hospital official said.

"None of the babies show any grave symptoms up to now. In fact, the expired injection did not have any side effects at all. The babies` symptoms were caused by the measles itself, but not the vaccine," he said.

In March this year, nearly 100 children became handicapped or died after receiving vaccines in Shanxi province, the China Economic Times reported.


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