China's history of "fake vaccine" scandals reason for concern


China has been touting its success in the race to develop a #vaccine for the novel #coronavirus. Around 10 drugmakers are at the stage of conducting human trials. Three of those companies are in China. One of them is the Wuhan Institute of Biological Products. The state-owned company said last week they are preparing for mass production of the vaccine. 

But for some, this doesn't sound like good news. This is He Fangmei, an ordinary Chinese mother. She says her 6-year-old daughter was left with paralyzed legs after being given with a vaccine made by the Wuhan Institute of Biological Products. She protested along with other victims in front of China's National Health Commission headquarters in February last year. Instead of being answered, she was arrested for "picking quarrels and stirring up trouble" and detained for 10 months. 

China's vaccine industry has been plagued by scandals. From 2007 to 2018, at least 13 major manufacturers in China were found to be producing defective vaccines causing severe side effects. In some cases, hundreds of thousands of faulty vaccines were disseminated. In 2013, a Chinese journalist made a documentary "#VaccineWounds" (疫苗之殤) highlighting nearly 100 children who became paralyzed or mentally disabled after being given bad vaccines.