A vaccine scandal in China began building slowly and then suddenly, this weekend, it was everywhere at once.
The story began back in November, when a large vaccine manufacturer called Changsheng Biotechnology Co. was forced to recall 252,600 ineffective doses of vaccines for DPT (diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus). Then earlier this July, a government investigation caught Changsheng falsifying data about its rabies vaccine, and a local food and drug administration fined the company 3.44 million yuan, or approximately $500,000, over the faulty DPT vaccines.
Over the weekend, an anonymous post recounting all this and more went viral on the Chinese social network WeChat. In addition to the recent developments, it alleged a complex web of corruption that went back decades, involving other vaccines for hepatitis B and chicken pox. The post was deleted the next day.
But by then, a full-blown national scandal had erupted. The Chinese government this week scrambled to put out statements assuring a prompt investigation. President Xi Jinping described the situation as â€œvile and shocking.â€� Police on Monday announced the swift arrest of four of the companyâ€™s executives,