14:09 Mar. 22, 2016
Authorities are not sure how many people have been affected
Furious parents and health care professionals in China are demanding to know how almost million of improperly stored and potentially fatal vaccines were distributed across some two-thirds of the country over the past five years, in the latest public-health scandal to raise serious questions over the efficacy of the Chinese Communist Party's rule.
According to state media, a mother and daughter from eastern China's Shandong province have been caught peddling 25 kinds of unrefrigerated vaccines - including for polio, mumps, rabies, hepatitis B, encephalitis and meningococcal diseases - to medical facilities across 24 Chinese provinces since 2010.
Inflaming the public backlash, authorities had apparently known about the case since last April, though only publicized the news late Friday in a belated attempt to trace potential victims. Moreover, the elder suspect, a 47-year-old woman surnamed Pang, had apparently been convicted of the same offense in 2009 but only received a suspended sentence. State media admitted the compromised inoculations could have resulted in paralysis and even death.
"Twenty-four provinces, five years already, and how many children! It's been nearly a year and then they reveal this! Isn't this genocide? Words cannot express how angry I am!" posted one user of China's Twitter-like microblog Weibo, reports the BBC.