Xi’an scru­ti­nizes ra­bies vac­cines

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA -

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.

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