Outrage in China over thousands of faulty vaccines for children

Hundreds of thousands of vaccines provided for Chinese children have been found to be faulty, inciting widespread fur...

Posted: Jul 24, 2018 11:03 AM
Updated: Jul 24, 2018 11:03 AM

Hundreds of thousands of vaccines provided for Chinese children have been found to be faulty, inciting widespread fury and prompting the country's President, Xi Jinping, to describe the incident as "vile and shocking."

China's Food and Drug Administration (CFDA) has launched an investigation into vaccine manufacturer Changchun Changsheng Biotechnology, revoking its license for human rabies vaccines and beginning a recall of all unused vaccines produced by the company.

Five senior executives of the company, including the chairwoman, were taken into custody for questioning by Changchun police, who announced they had begun an official criminal investigation into the company.

In Chinese, the term Changsheng is a play on words meaning "long life."

Online message boards have been inundated with hundreds of thousands of comments since the news broke Sunday, with parents and consumers using the hashtag "#Changsheng bio-tech vaccine incident," to post reactions on Weibo, a Chinese platform likened to Twitter.

"My home country, how can I trust you? You just let me down again and again," one user said. "Our trust has been overdrawn again and again, it's so irresponsible for everyone's life," said another.

Many of the defective vaccines were already on the market and being given to Chinese children, as part of the mandatory national vaccination program. A number have now been recalled, but there is no information at this stage as to how they could affect the health of those children who have already been injected.

One mother, surnamed Zhen from Baoding, Hebei province, told CNN she had found out since the announcement her six-year-old daughter was vaccinated with a Changsheng product.

"I'm kind of at loss. I have to wait for official conclusions," she said over Wechat.

Zhen said she'd been supportive of products made in China, unlike a number of her contemporaries who "worship" foreign products.

"But this incident ... it also made me deeply concerned. It will be really hard to rebuild people's confidence in our national brands. After all, children are parents' lifeblood," she said.

'Thorough' investigation promised

At least two different vaccines -- rabies, and diphtheria and tetanus (DPT) -- manufactured by Changchun Changsheng Biotechnology are known to be defective.

State-run Xinhua news agency reports that at least 113,000 doses of the company's rabies vaccine are affected.

In a statement, the Jilin Provincial Food and Drug Administration said a total of 253,338 doses of Changsheng's DPT vaccine were faulty. This batch was sold to the Shandong Provincial Disease Prevention and Control Center.

It follows an earlier incident, in November 2017, when at least another 400,000 doses of the same vaccine, produced by a different, second company, the Wuhan Institute of Biological Products, were found to be substandard.

Eight provinces or cities immediately announced they would be stopping or suspending the use of human rabies vaccine from Changsheng, while another four claimed they had never used it.

It is not known whether other regional disease control agencies have been affected.

The Changsheng vaccine issues first became public following an official government inspection of the company's facilities on July 15, in which authorities found that the company had fabricated production and testing records, falsified production specifications and equipment, CFDA officials said in a briefing on Sunday.

Despite being overseas on Monday on a visit to Africa, President Xi was briefed on the vaccine crisis and said ensuring the safety of drugs was the responsibility of the government and the Communist Party.

He called for authorities to "scrape the poison off the bone" in their efforts to rectify the vaccine problems.

On Sunday, Premier Li Keqiang, the country's number two leader, announced a "thorough" investigation of China's vaccine production and sales process, saying the incident had "broke people's moral bottom line."

"Those involved will be resolutely punished with zero tolerance. (The government) will resolutely crack down on all illegal and criminal acts that endanger the safety of people's lives," a statement released by China's Central Government said.

The vaccine crisis will undermine attempts by authorities to rebuild the public's trust in Chinese food and medicines after a series of wide-scale controversies in the past decade.

In a statement released to the Shenzhen Stock Exchange, the management of Changsheng said it felt "very ashamed and guilty" over the vaccines.

"The company will learn a lesson and take practical corrective measures and rectify thoroughly," the statement said.

For their mistake, Changsheng was fined 3,442,887 yuan ($507,843) by the Chinese government.

'A test of a modern country's governance'

State-run tabloid the Global Times said in an unusually blunt editorial Sunday the provision of safe vaccines for the population was "a test of a modern country's governance."

Another state media publication, China Daily, said in an editorial the same day transparency was needed if the public was going to be satisfied.

"The authorities need to release whatever information they know about the incident to the public as soon as possible," the article said.

The vaccine scandal is just the latest in a series of controversies surrounding fake or defective products produced in China.

In 2008, about 300,000 Chinese infants became sick after drinking tainted milk formula, triggering a countrywide rush to buy internationally-produced baby products in Hong Kong and abroad.

Years later, almost half of Chinese food-processing plants still failed to meet internationally acceptable standards, according to a 2015 report.

Even condiments such as soy sauce and spice mix haven't escaped the fake goods scares, after authorities in northern China busted several factories making counterfeit versions of the popular products in 2017.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 137536

Reported Deaths: 2421
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin34657994
Ramsey14342362
Dakota10027138
Anoka9039151
Washington608972
Stearns599144
Scott349634
Olmsted331430
St. Louis307970
Wright260915
Clay236243
Nobles230916
Blue Earth20667
Carver18477
Kandiyohi17535
Sherburne173322
Rice167410
Mower153517
Winona127819
Chisago10832
Crow Wing106222
Lyon9966
Benton9769
Waseca9379
Beltrami9147
Otter Tail9017
Todd8656
Steele7823
Morrison77610
Itasca76317
Nicollet74718
Douglas7283
Polk7244
Freeborn6914
Le Sueur6456
Goodhue62511
Martin61518
McLeod6104
Becker5884
Watonwan5794
Isanti5715
Pine5540
Chippewa4663
Carlton4622
Mille Lacs42715
Hubbard4103
Dodge4040
Wabasha3970
Cass3905
Pipestone35917
Rock3484
Meeker3453
Brown3333
Yellow Medicine2926
Roseau2900
Murray2893
Cottonwood2860
Redwood28411
Fillmore2640
Sibley2603
Renville25812
Wadena2553
Faribault2390
Kanabec22510
Jackson2171
Houston2121
Swift2091
Pennington2071
Unassigned19353
Lincoln1890
Stevens1871
Aitkin1862
Koochiching1725
Pope1650
Lac qui Parle1443
Big Stone1431
Wilkin1404
Marshall1311
Lake1260
Norman1210
Mahnomen1172
Clearwater1140
Grant994
Red Lake812
Traverse580
Kittson490
Lake of the Woods441
Cook170

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 117876

Reported Deaths: 1666
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk19173289
Woodbury728597
Johnson590630
Black Hawk5727101
Linn5692132
Dubuque529558
Scott466241
Story403918
Dallas348544
Pottawattamie326744
Sioux247017
Buena Vista226812
Marshall204436
Webster189115
Plymouth167831
Wapello154162
Clinton150227
Muscatine148758
Des Moines140910
Cerro Gordo140227
Crawford136314
Warren12737
Carroll116813
Jasper112334
Henry10745
Marion103211
Lee95910
Tama95837
Delaware80213
Dickinson7529
Wright7341
Boone7269
Mahaska70924
Bremer6879
Harrison67315
Washington66711
Jackson6463
Benton5982
Lyon5568
Clay5414
Louisa52515
Winnebago50219
Hardin4837
Winneshiek4839
Hamilton4784
Cedar4777
Kossuth4770
Buchanan4625
Poweshiek46211
Jones4544
Clayton4503
Floyd44011
Emmet43520
Iowa4189
Page4130
Guthrie40715
Cherokee4062
Mills4053
Sac4034
Cass4023
Butler3883
Fayette3844
Franklin38218
Shelby3812
Allamakee3809
Chickasaw3641
Madison3643
Clarke3573
Humboldt3383
Hancock3314
Grundy3186
Palo Alto3162
Calhoun3124
Osceola2890
Mitchell2831
Howard2749
Monroe26211
Union2524
Taylor2482
Jefferson2451
Monona2452
Appanoose2333
Pocahontas2322
Fremont2091
Lucas2066
Ida1962
Greene1880
Van Buren1812
Montgomery1807
Davis1794
Adair1771
Keokuk1641
Decatur1530
Audubon1511
Worth1460
Wayne1323
Ringgold922
Adams830
Unassigned150
Rochester
Clear
49° wxIcon
Hi: 51° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 44°
Mason City
Clear
52° wxIcon
Hi: 53° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 52°
Albert Lea
Clear
46° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 46°
Austin
Clear
50° wxIcon
Hi: 51° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 50°
Charles City
Clear
52° wxIcon
Hi: 53° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 52°
Tracking a breezy weekend
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

Early snow impact on farmers

Image

Mail In Voters Advised To hand Deliver Ballots

Image

Early Snowfall Has Little Impact On Harvesting

Image

Mabel Canton School Referendum

Image

Poll Watcher volunteers needed

Image

Hiring more state troopers

Image

President Trump visiting Rochester

Image

Help From United Way

Image

Grocery Store Opens In Byron

Image

Mayor Norton Expresses Concerns Ahead of Trump Visit

Community Events