At least three children have passed away while seven others are gravely ill, after being given expired vaccines as part of routine anti-measles vaccination drive.

The vaccination drive was being carried out in Mariam Road area of Sindh’s Nawabshah town on Sunday and everything was going smoothly till the time the children started getting sick. Residents of the area reported that at least 10 children had fallen sick by the evening after being administered the vaccine in the morning.

One of the children died at home while two breathed their last at the Peoples Medical hospital. The rest of the sick children were also immediately rushed to the hospital where they remain under treatment.

It has been reported that the Sindh government has asked for the remaining children to be taken to the Agha Khan hospital in Karachi, where they will be treated for free.

A senior doctor at the hospital, Dr Mazhar said that the parents had complained about the anti-measles vaccines administered to the children for being expired. However, the exact cause of death will be ascertained after a post-mortem is conducted on the deceased.

Taking notice of the incident, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) co-chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has directed those concerned in the Sindh government to investigate the matter and hand down strict punishments to the culprits.

Meanwhile it has been reported that the medical health worker who administered the vaccination has been identified. The lady health worker responsible for the incident fled her residence and is still on loose, while police continue to search for her.

Following the tragic incident, the vaccination campaign has been suspended in the area.