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Faulty vaccines for children causes widespread fear, anger in China

Another vaccine scandal has parents and officials in China voicing outrage while the government investigates. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang announced the government would analyze "the entire process chain of vaccine production and sales." (/AFP/Getty Images)

Chinese citizens and officials are outraged over the discovery that hundreds of thousands of vaccines recently administered to children in the country were faulty.

What? How could that happen?

An investigation has been launched by China's Food and Drug Administration into the practices of vaccine manufacturer Changsheng Biotechnology Co., after it was discovered that the firm allegedly violated safety standards and subsequently sold more than 250,000 doses of common immunizations for diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough.

Earlier this month, it was discovered that Changsheng had also falsified the production records of a rabies shot the company had developed, but none of those vaccines made it to market.

Meanwhile, frustrated parents are left waiting to hear what steps to take next, not knowing what type of reaction the impacted children might have to further boosters now that the shots have been deemed ineffective.

So, now what?

Five of the company's executives have been taken into custody by law enforcement,  Chinese Premier Li Keqiang announced the government would analyze "the entire process chain of vaccine production and sales," and President Xi Jinping called Changsheng's practices "vile and shocking."

In a statement, Mr. Li said, "We will resolutely crack down on illegal and criminal acts that endanger safety of peoples' lives, resolutely punish lawbreakers according to the law, and resolutely and severely criticize dereliction of duty in supervision."

He added that the incident "crossed a moral red line of the people and must be explained clearly to the public."

But the unsettling situation has further eroded the trust of the Chinese consumer, as this marks the third vaccine crisis in the country since 2010. While the management of Changsheng released a statement saying they felt "very ashamed and guilty" of the incidents, it is little consolation to Chinese parents.

One parent Huo Xiaoling — whose daughter received one of Changsheng vaccines — told The New York Times that she would never allow her child to be given another Chinese-made vaccine.

"We don't know who we can believe in," she said. "As Chinese, we probably should have confidence in our country, but getting hurt again and again has made us lose faith."


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