Hundreds of parents protested in China after learning that at least 145 children have received oral polio vaccines expired in the province of Jiangsu in the east of the country, local media reported today.
Health authorities discovered that a batch of polio vaccines with an expiration date of December 11 was being administered orally to minors at a health center in Jinhu.
So far it has been confirmed that at least 145 children, between three months and four years, have been affected by these expired vaccines, although the investigation is still ongoing and seventeen officials have already been penalized – dismissed or expelled from the Communist Party of China – for this case, according to the official newspaper Global Times.
After knowing the scandal, a large crowd of parents gathered yesterday at the gates of the government buildings of Jinhu, where there were moments of great tension, to ask for explanations to the authorities, since it is unknown exactly how many children have been supplied these expired vaccines.
One of the parents, Wu Youjin, told the South China Morning Post independent newspaper that her 15-month-old daughter had a rash after being given several vaccines, including one against polio, in May last year.
Although at that time he did not link the rash with the vaccine, now he has tried unsuccessfully to verify the expiration date of the medicine, since he could not find out the serial number.
"The government has not provided complete or systematic solutions on what measures we should take and what we can do if they have given us the vaccines (expired), and what are the consequences," he told the newspaper.
This new scandal occurs amid the distrust that exists among Chinese citizens towards their health system, which has experienced other cases of drug adulteration.
The last one occurred last July, when the authorities detected that the pharmaceutical company Changsheng Bio-Technology had used expired materials in the preparation of lyophilized vaccines against rabies for human use and did not correctly record the dates or the serial numbers of the products. at least since 2014.
Then a national inspection was initiated for all the vaccine manufacturers in the country, in which no additional problems were found, and a fine of 9.1 billion yuan (about 1,300 million dollars or 1,100 million euros) was imposed on Changsheng.
In addition, the Chinese authorities presented a bill on the management of vaccines to achieve a stricter supervision of the sector to avoid new scandals.