Infant vaccine batches fail quality test – China’s latest society and culture news


“It sounds like we should be thankful for the vaccines not being toxic.”

“Ineffective vaccines are faulty vaccines. There is no way for the drug administration to diminish the seriousness of the accident.”

From Weibo (in Chinese)

Sixth Tone reports that more than 650,000 doses of a vaccine given to almost every newborn in China have been found to be ineffective according to a statement released by the China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA) on November 10. Prior to the announcement, these vaccines had already been sold to disease control and prevention centers in the eastern province of Shandong, the northern province of Hebei, and the southwestern municipality of Chongqing.

The faulty vaccines, which are supposed to protect against diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus (PDT), passed quality checks conducted by the National Institutes for Food and Drug Control before they entered the market. However, during a later spot check, the CFDA discovered that  “batches of DPT vaccines from two companies did not meet the national standard,” which means that even though they “will not threaten people’s health,” their immunization effect is in question. The CFDA called for the affected batches not to be used.

A spokesperson from the CFDA said that of the 944 batches of vaccines that have been examined by the administration since 2008, 99.6 percent were both effective and safe. Yet the latest problem is not the first vaccine scandal in recent years. Sixth Tone notes that in 2016, over 300 suspects were identified in an illegal vaccine distribution ring that was selling improperly stored and expired vaccines to more than 20 provinces.


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Jiayun Feng

Jiayun is a Chinese native and was born in Shanghai, where she spent her first 20 years and earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism at Fudan University. Interested in writing for a global audience, she attended the NYU Graduate School of Journalism for its Global & Joint Program Studies, which allows her to pursue a journalistic career along with her interest in international relations. She has previously interned for Sixth Tone and Shanghai Daily.