15 detained amid vaccine scandal as wary parents flock to Hong Kong


The explosive public health scandal involving over 250,000 substandard vaccines continued to dominate the news cycle in China today.

  • Chinese authorities have arrested 15 people close to the matter on suspicion of “criminal offenses.” Those detained include the CEO and other executives of Changchun Changsheng Life Sciences Ltd., which has been accused of fabricating production and quality control records of faulty rabies and other vaccines.
  • Clinics in Hong Kong are reportedly inundated with calls from mainland Chinese parents who turn to the city to get their children vaccinated after losing confidence in domestically-produced medical supplies. The flood of parents from mainland China, as the South China Morning Post predicts, is likely to cause a vaccine shortage in the city.
  • The Chinese word for “vaccine” (疫苗 yìmiáo) was one of the most restricted on Weibo when the news broke out, according to a project operated by the Journalism and Media Studies Centre at the University of Hong Kong.
  • Sun Xianze 孙咸泽, who oversaw drug safety in the State Food and Drug Administration before his retirement in March, was found to be one of the dozen-plus officials held responsible for the toxic milk powder scandal in 2008. “So the guy who oversaw Sanlu was taking charge of the vaccines, how wonderful!” one internet user wrote on Chinese social media.
  • “Scandals about vaccines could jeopardize Beijing’s plan to become a pharmaceutical heavyweight on the global stage,” CNBC says.

Is Beijing fumbling its follow-up to the vaccine scandal?