China Accused of Selling Bad Vaccines
A report by well-known investigative journalist Wang Keqin has shed light on the mishandling of vaccines which has rendered them ineffective or dangerous. From the New York Times:
Mr. Chen said that the center, which is part of the Shanxi Health Department, had required all hospitals in the province to buy vaccines at steep prices. To monitor compliance by the hospitals, the center put a sticker on each package of vaccine to show that it had been approved.
But the stickers would not adhere to the packages in air-conditioned rooms, Mr. Chen said, so the center routinely through 2006 and 2007 had the vaccines transferred to a warm room where the stickers were attached, Mr. Chen said.
“I saw boxes and boxes of vaccines piled up high like a hill in a hot room without air-conditioning,” he said. “Over the course of two years, I complained more than 30 times to the center’s leaders that these vaccines were no longer effective.”
…The press office of the Shanxi Health Department declined to comment, saying that it had already made a statement to the official Xinhua news agency. Xinhua reported that Li Shukai, the deputy director of the department, had said that the China Economic Times article was “basically not true.”
The article said that the parents of 4 children who died and 74 children with severe illnesses were blaming the vaccines. Mr. Li told Xinhua that provincial health experts had examined some of the children and concluded that their problems were not caused by vaccines.
Read more about Wang Keqin via CDT.