Sat, Jan 12, 2019 - Page 5 News List

Chinese children receive expired polio vaccinations

AFP, SHANGHAI

At least 145 children were administered expired polio vaccines in eastern China, state media reported, despite the government promising to prevent such lapses in the industry after a major scandal last year.

Three county-level health officials in Jiangsu Province have been dismissed since the case came to light earlier this week, according to an announcement by the Jinhu County government.

A parent discovered earlier this week that a batch of orally administered polio vaccines were being given to children at a county-run health facility nearly one month after their Dec. 11 expiration date, state broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) reported on Thursday.

The local government has since found that 145 children received the vaccines between Dec. 11 and Monday, CCTV said, quoting a government source.

Local health officials have said the expired vaccines would have decreased efficacy, but should not cause adverse health effects.

The WHO’s Web site says that people given such vaccines that have expired are “unlikely to get sick as a reaction to receiving the vaccine,” but they might not be adequately immunized.

Some parents reported adverse reactions among children, including vomiting and drowsiness, but it was unclear if this was just a normal allergic reaction to the medicine, CCTV said.

Beijing announced a nationwide cleanup of the country’s vaccine industry last year after it emerged that a major Chinese manufacturer of rabies vaccines had fabricated records.

Authorities maintain that affected rabies vaccines did not enter the market, but the case triggered public outrage over frequent safety scares involving sub-par or toxic food, drugs and other products.

Aside from the three officials who were dismissed, five other staff are under investigation, the regional government said.

The vaccines have been ordered sealed and the county has launched inspections of all health-related departments.

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