Mexico stopped administering certain vaccines nationwide and launched an investigation into why two children died and 29 fell ill this weekend after receiving inoculations in Chiapas, the country's southernmost state, officials said.
A total of 52 children in the municipality of Simojovel received vaccines against tuberculosis, rotavirus and hepatitis B on Friday, and 31 of them had adverse reactions that night, according to the Mexican Institute for Social Security. Of the hospitalized children, six are in grave condition and 23 are stable, the health agency said.
On Sunday, federal and state officials met with the parents of the hospitalized children, promising the best medical care possible and a transparent investigation, according to a government statement.
As a precaution, vaccinations against tuberculosis, rotavirus and hepatitis B are being suspended nationwide, the health agency said.
The health agency did not announce the affected children's ages. Mexican guidelines recommend that the three vaccines be administered by the time a child is 6 months old, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The United States recommends a similar schedule, with the exception of the tuberculosis vaccine, which is not widely used in the country.
The children became sick within hours of receiving the vaccines, a Catholic priest, the Rev. Marcelo Perez, told the Associated Press.
As of 2010, Simojovel had a population of about 40,000, 69% of whom lived in extreme poverty, government statistics show.