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China Daily Website

Vigilant to vaccine risks

Updated: 2013-12-24 21:55
By Li Yang (

The government must make it easier for people to defend their legal rights and interests when it comes to “unavoidable adverse reactions” from vaccinations, said an article in the Southern Metropolis Daily (excerpts below).

Six infants have died in the past month in China because of a possible adverse reaction to hepatitis B vaccinations.

But the medical authority’s investigation has not yet revealed the reason for the deaths.

Given hundreds of thousands of infants are vaccinated everyday in China, the government should not wait any longer to initiate a thorough investigation of the production, delivery, purchasing and use of the vaccines.

Three years ago, nearly 100 infants were killed or suffered disabilities in Shanxi province after they were vaccinated.

Even if the medical investigation this time does not confirm any connection between the vaccinations and the deaths, the government’s examination of vaccine production and the market will help dispel public concern.

More, the government must amend the compensation for families whose babies suffer from adverse reactions to various vaccines.

Statistics show one to two infants out of every one million may have an adverse reaction to the vaccine they receive. That translates into about 1,000 infants each year in China.

It is difficult for families to prove their children’s disability or death were caused by the vaccinations. More than 80 percent of the babies who die or suffer disability each year are verified as having no link to the vaccines.

This leaves their families in a helpless legal situation.

The disease prevention and control centers at various levels are in charge of finding the cause of any vaccine-related death or disability.

Yet, these centers also conduct vaccinations.

It is convenient for the centers to say that “adverse reaction is unavoidable and no parties are at fault”. That’s the response most victim families get.

Reportedly, the public health authority has conducted research on a new Vaccine Circulation and Administration Regulation. But there is still no timetable.

Hopefully, the new regulation can help victim families defend their rights. The question is how long will they wait for?