More Than 100 Babies In China Received Expired Polio Vaccines

Polio Vaccine
(Photo: Flickr/RIBI Image Library)

Over 100 children in eastern China were given expired polio vaccines by local health center just months following public health scare over faulty products, according to a media report.

Thepaper.cn reported that a total of 145 toddlers and infants in Jinhu county, coastal Jiangsu province were given oral vaccines with an expiry date of December 11. The incident shed light on Monday after a hospital worker found out that the vaccine supposedly to be given to their child was expired for almost a month.

Children who received expired polio vaccines were reportedly aged between three months to four years. Some of them were reportedly experienced adverse health effects like drowsiness and vomiting following vaccination.

On Thursday, Jinhu authorities invited provincial experts to monitor affected children. Meanwhile, county's public health officials were removed from their posts, and health center workers involved were suspended and under investigation.

According to the South China Morning Post, polio vaccines in China are part of a compulsory immunization program which was provided free by the disease control authorities. Every child should be vaccinated four times from their two months old until they are four years old.

Polio vaccines are used to prevent poliomyelitis, and there are two types being used: weakened poliovirus given by mouth and an inactivated poliovirus given by injection. The World Health Organization recommends all children should be fully vaccinated against polio.

The vaccination industry in China was said to be low, and the case in Jinhu country comes following nationwide outcry regarding the safety of vaccines last summer which was widely considered as the country's worst public health storm in years.

The crisis started in July after a drug regulator claimed that the Jilin-based Changchun Changsheng Bio-technology - one of the biggest vaccine makers in China - had been producing 252,600 substandard DPT vaccines. These vaccines were given to thousands of babies, with some as young as three months old.

State drug regulator also found the company forged data in the production of about 113,000 rabies vaccines. The offense has been considered so serious, and the State Drug Administration revoked the license of the company to produce the rabies vaccine. Then, following investigation revealed the company was engaged in such malpractice for over four years.

Other cases of vaccine cases in China include a 2016 incident wherein health authorities discovered 2 million improperly stored vaccines were sold across the country. A year earlier, the majority of infants in central Henan province received expired vaccines - causing two deaths. And back in 2010, journalist Wang Keqin published investigative reports regarding on unrefrigerated vaccines in Shanxi province - which killed four children and sickened over 70 others.

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