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China’s Vaccine Crisis: Over 100 Children Administered with Expired Vaccines

According to Chinese media, in the past month, at a health center in Jinhu County, Jiangsu Province, 145 infants and young children were vaccinated with an expired polio vaccine. After vaccination, a number of children developed adverse reactions. The batch number of the vaccines was 201612158 and was valid only until December 11, 2018. However, until one month after the expiration date, infants were still being administered the batch of polio vaccine.

One child’s mother said that, after her child was vaccinated, the child’s “fever ran as high as 39 degrees (Celsius) for half a month, together with coughing, catching a cold, and mild vomiting.” Other parents said that children showed rashes, a high fever, and other symptoms.

On January 10, the County authorities dismissed the responsible persons, including the deputy director of the local center for disease control, and launched an investigation into five of the medical staff.

The batch in which the polio vaccine in question was involved is a bivalent oral poliovirus vaccine (OPV), commonly known as “small sugar pill,” which is a free vaccine that China provides.

Since 1978, China has gradually implemented the “National Immunization Program” to determine vaccine varieties and programs according to different provinces and regions and to administer vaccinations among the population. At present, China provides free vaccinations for first class vaccines such as polio, hepatitis B, and DTP across the country. Hepatitis A, chickenpox, and rabies vaccines are second-class paid vaccines.

However, whether free or paid vaccines, there have been repeated safety incidents in China. Only six months before this incident, in July of last year, Chinese vaccine giant Changchun Changsheng was exposed over a fraud scandal involving the rabies vaccine.

In March 2016, in Shandong, 25 kinds of vaccines for children and adults were sold to 24 provinces and cities without the use of strict cold chain storage and transportation.

In March 2010, nearly 100 children in Shanxi either died or were disabled after vaccinations, causing widespread concern.

Source: BBC Chinese Channel, January 11, 2019