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250 detained immigrant children given overdose of vaccine in Texas

By
Danielle Haynes
A nurse injects a patient. Photo by Photographee.eu/Shutterstock
A nurse injects a patient. Photo by Photographee.eu/Shutterstock

DILLEY, Texas, July 9 (UPI) -- Medical workers in "inadvertently" gave 250 children at a detention in south Texas an overdose of the hepatitis A vaccine, officials with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said.

Nina Pruneda, an ICE spokeswoman, said the children, who, along with their mothers are being held at the South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, were given adult doses of the vaccine.

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"Medical professionals monitored approximately 250 children at the South Texas Family Residential Center who, over a five-day period, inadvertently received an adult dose of hepatitis A vaccine rather than a pediatric dose," she said in a statement. "No significant adverse reactions occurred. Parents at the facility were advised and counseled by medical professionals about potential side effects, with services made available in multiple languages. ICE, in consultation with [Department of Homeland Security's] Office of Health Affairs, is conducting a thorough review of the circumstances that led to this event and will make all necessary changes to prevent similar occurrences in the future."

Though Pruneda says there were no adverse reactions to the incident, immigration attorney Barbara Hines said she's heard otherwise from one of the mothers at the facility, the Dallas Observer reported.

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"I met with a mother last week at Dilley who told me that her 4-year-old child was feverish, not eating, having trouble walking and complaining of the pain in his leg," she said in a written statement.

Meanwhile, the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) called attention to the long-noted "disturbing patterns of what appears to be inadequate healthcare for the women and children."

"This latest healthcare failure at Dilley is one of many indicators that family detention is just not workable. The [Obama] Administration has recently acknowledged the need for 'substantial changes' to their practice of detaining families. It needs to abandon the effort entirely, and return to a more humane and cost effective system where families are released, on alternatives when necessary, to ensure the safety and well-being of the children. This needs to happen now, before any further damage is done to their physical and mental health," said Ben Johnson, executive director of the American Immigration Council, in a joint news release with the AILA.

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The facility in Dilley is the largest immigration detention center in the United States with 2,400 beds.

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