Shanxi CDC chief accused of meddling vaccine

08:36, March 23, 2010      

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An investigation is now underway to determine whether a provincial CDC official collaborated with a Beijing vaccine producer, and permitted sub-standard shots given to local children and caused some of them to have died.

Over the weekend, angry families of those children, in northern Shanxi Province, descended on capital city of Taiyuan, protesting and asking for answers. The case has been widely reported by Chinese press and got the eyes of the central government.

The latest probe into the vaccine scandal in Shanxi Province showed violation of rules by the provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the vaccine producer.

Ju Xianhua, deputy secretary general of the Shanxi provincial government, said at a press conference that the former director of the provincial CDC, Li Wenyuan, “violated rules” while cooperating with the vaccine producer, Beijing Huawei Company, and was accused for embezzling 270,000 yuan from the company's 500,000 yuan safety guarantee deposit.

Li is no longer head of the provincial CDC since the end of last year and an investigation against the former CDC offical is going on.

Ju said the government will investigate all vaccine cases reported by the public and release the results as soon as possible.

On March 17, the Beijing based China Economic Times reported, citing Chen Tao'an, a whistleblower who worked with Shanxi CDC in 2007, that up to 100 children had died or fell ill in Shanxi after taking shots of the vaccine.

The report named 15 children out of 78 that received vaccines including encephalitis, hepatitis B and rabies at different times. Four children died between 2007 and 2008, and 74 were sickened, according to the report.

The report said that Shanxi had been selling problematic vaccines since 2006, causing viral encephalitis after vaccination. It accused the provincial CDC of exposing vaccines to heat in summer causing quality problems.

The Ministry of Health and Shanxi Provincial Health Department both launched investigations into the case after media exposure.

By People's Daily Online
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