Changchun Vaccine Scandal Causes Outrage on Weibo

Within three years time, a third scandal has been exposed in the Chinese vaccine industry, adding to parents’ mistrust of vaccines in China.

A new vaccine scandal involving Changchun Changsheng, China’s second-largest producer of anti-rabies vaccines, has caused a tsunami of outrage and media coverage in China this week.

China’s State Food and Drug Administration found that the Jilin-based Changchun company did only not produce fake anti-rabies vaccines, but also substandard DPT vaccines, Caijing News reports on Weibo.

The news about Changchun’s violations already came out on July 15th, but especially led to a social media storm this weekend after reports leaked online exposing that the same company had already violated production laws as early as October of last year.

It is not the first time China faces serious problems in its vaccine programmes. In November of 2017, over 650,000 faulty – uneffective – vaccines were recalled in Shandong, Hebei and Chongqing.

In 2016, another scandal concerning the distribution of illegal and potentially deadly vaccines also became a major trending topic on Chinese social media.

It is mandatory for children to be vaccinated in line with the China National Immunization Programme.

At time of writing, the hashtag “Changchun Changsheng Counterfeit Vaccines” (#长春长生造假疫苗#) has already received over 49 million views on Weibo.

The current scandal adds to parents’ mistrust of vaccines in China, with thousands of people on Weibo demanding that those responsible for these violations should be given capital punishment.

On the various Weibo accounts of Chinese state media and local authorities, however, a post has been published that asks people to “not let anger and panic spread,” and to trust that “the relevant departments will deal with this issue in a timely manner.”

Various essays and comments threads about the faulty vaccines were no longer visible as of Sunday afternoon. While Beijing News reports that the Changchun vaccines were not used in Beijing, many questions still linger for worried parents in many other parts of the country.

By Manya Koetse

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