Tough steps taken on vac­cine con­trol

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By HU YONGQI in Bei­jing huy­ongqi@chi­nadaily.com.cn

China is to tighten man­age­ment of vac­cines to en­sure peo­ple’s health and safety, es­pe­cially young chil­dren and ju­ve­niles.

The move comes af­ter a scan­dal in which a large quan­tity of im­prop­erly stored or ex­pired vac­cines have al­legedly been sold na­tion­wide since 2011.

Re­ports on the scan­dal were sub­mit­ted on Wed­nes­day to an ex­ec­u­tive meet­ing of the State Coun­cil presided over by Premier Li Ke­qiang.

Re­vi­sions were made to up­date the reg­u­la­tion on vac­cines, aimed at im­pos­ing stricter man­age­ment na­tion­wide and to pre­vent fur­ther vi­o­la­tions.

For the first time, vi­o­la­tors of the reg­u­la­tion will be for­bid­den from en­ter­ing the vac­cine busi­ness and of­fi­cials in charge must re­sign.

Last month, po­lice in Shan­dong prov­ince cracked a case in which 25 vac­cines for chil­dren and adults worth 570 mil­lion yuan ($88 mil­lion) were not stored prop­erly.

A mother and her daugh­ter are al­leged to have bought the vac­cines il­le­gally and sold them to 24 prov­inces, mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties and au­ton­o­mous re­gions since 2011.

The State Coun­cil set up a spe­cial team to in­ves­ti­gate the scan­dal and the reg­u­la­tory sys­tem that failed to pre­vent the dis­tri­bu­tion of sub­stan­dard vac­cines.

Po­lice have ar­rested 202 sus­pects na­tion­wide and 357 of­fi­cials in 17 pro­vin­cial-level re­gions had been re­moved from their posts or de­moted as of Wed­nes­day.

Un­der the old reg­u­la­tion cov­er­ing dis­tri­bu­tion and vac­ci­na­tion, which took ef­fect in June 2005, some vac­cines were pro­vided by the govern­ment free of charge to peo­ple, while oth­ers were bought by peo­ple for op­tional vac­ci­na­tion.

With re­duced su­per­vi­sion by dis­ease con­trol au­thor­i­ties, af­ford­able vac­cines could be bought freely, in­creas­ing the risk of con­tam­i­na­tion af­ter im­proper stor­age and trans­porta­tion.

The new reg­u­la­tion re­quires th­ese vac­cines to be in­cor­po­rated into the pro­vin­cial-level pro­cure­ment plat­form for pub­lic re­sources such as free vac­cines.

It also pro­hibits phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal whole­sale en­ter­prises from trad­ing in vac­cines. A new sys­tem will be set up to trace vac­cines from pro­duc­tion to use, with par­tic­u­lar re­quire­ments for re­frig­er­ated stor­age and trans­porta­tion.

Harsher penal­ties will be im­posed on those who il­le­gally trade in and im­prop­erly store and trans­port vac­cines.

Jia Xi­jin, a pro­fes­sor of pub­lic man­age­ment at Ts­inghua Univer­sity, said: “The re­vi­sion shows the cen­tral govern­ment’s con­cern for the health­care and safety of peo­ple, es­pe­cially chil­dren. ... If the new reg­u­la­tion is im­ple­mented strictly, the qual­ity of vac­cines will be im­proved.”

If the new reg­u­la­tion is im­ple­mented strictly, the qual­ity of vac­cines will be im­proved.”

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