(Yicai Global) Aug. 10 -- Supposedly expired vaccines given to children in Shaanxi province were in date, staff had simply recorded their information incorrectly, China’s National Health Commission has concluded after an investigation which slammed the clinics for substandard operations.
The regulator checked five types of inoculation at three clinics in Shangluo, including those for measles, mumps and rubella and for diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus, and determined that they were all administered before expiring, it said online yesterday.
Despite clearing the clinics of dishing outdated vaccines, the commission did say they were operating at a substandard level. All three were understaffed, lacked adequate equipment and were under lax supervision, it added, saying they must quickly plan improvements and revive their reputation by providing information that helps the public better understand vaccines.
Chinese immunizations have been rocked by scandal since last month, when the State Drug Administration revealed that Changsheng Bio-Technology had faked production data for its rabies vaccines and a local regulator fined the firm for making subpar shots for children.
As well as incensing the public and China’s top two officials, with President Xi Jinping labeling it a “vile” affair, the scandal shook the nation’s faith in its pharmaceuticals industry. The CSI 300 Healthcare Index, which tracks 22 pharma stocks listed in Shanghai and Shenzhen, has lost more than 12 percent since mid-July.
More than 100 Shaanxi parents had complained that their child had been given out-of-date vaccines after an initial grievance was logged on Aug. 3. The first complainant noticed that the vaccine certificate said the shot was valid for use until March 1, 2018 -- but when scanning the product using Alibaba’s drug-tracing app Mashang Fangxin, saw the inoculation was only valid until July 14, 2017.
Two days later, authorities in Shangluo said the vaccines were valid but staff had entered data incorrectly. Members of the public were not convinced by the response, so the NHC set a team to investigate -- eventually concluding that workers registered the shots with the wrong batch numbers and did not verify the information.
Editor: James Boynton