Xi’an scrutinizes rabies vaccines
Authorities in Xi’an, Shaanxi province, will overhaul the rabies vaccine industry after a local woman died 28 days after being bitten by a rabid dog.
The woman, surnamed Long, received four vaccination doses at intervals in a hospital in Xi’an. Her death, first reported in Hongxing News, fueled a public outcry, with many questioning the quality of the rabies vaccine. The news article attracted nearly 5,000 comments on Sina Weibo.
Authorities from the Xi’an Food and Drug Administration said they would investi- gate the storage, transportation and use of rabies vaccines in the city. An investigation will also be conducted to find out how outpatient services personnel have handled exposure to rabies.
Any organizations or individuals found illegally storing or transporting vaccines will face “a severe crackdown”, according to the administration.
A scandal broke in 2016 in which millions of dollars worth of improperly stored or expired vaccines were sold to patients nationwide. A total of 125 people were arrested and 37 officials placed under investigation for negligence and graft.
Following that scandal, China took a series of steps to fix loopholes in the distribution of vaccines, including banning drug wholesalers from selling vaccines and altering distribution channels for noncompulsory vaccines.
Rabies is a Class 2 notifiable disease in China. As dogs have become popular as pets, cases of rabies have been on the rise. In 2006, at least 16 people died of rabies in Shandong province after several dog attacks.