Official rushed to hospital amid vaccine scandal

Source:Global Times Published: 2018/7/31 22:53:39

Chinese workers manufacture doses of the H1N1 flu vaccine at the plant of Changchun Changsheng Life Sciences in Changchun, capital of Northeast China’s Jilin Province in 2009. File photo: IC

A suspected suicide attempt by a disease control official in East China's Shandong Province has ignited China's cyberspace amid the ongoing vaccine scandal.

Song Lizhi, director of the immunity department of Shandong's disease control center, reportedly attempted to kill himself by injecting a large dose of insulin, Beijing-based newspaper China Times reported on Tuesday.

The report said Song is one of five council members responsible for purchasing the substandard diphtheria-pertussis-tetanus (DPT) vaccines produced by Changsheng Biotechnology Corporation.

However, the Science and Technology Daily reported Tuesday that Song was rushed to the hospital because of diabetes, not suicide, citing a source close to the police in Jinan, Shandong.

The newspaper also quoted a source close to the hospital as saying that Song was sent to the hospital two days earlier.

Shandong's disease control center told the China Business Journal that Song was hospitalized on Sunday, "probably because of fatigue and work pressure."

The suicide story soon triggered wide discussions online, with some suggesting Song's suicide attempt was made to cover up for other people involved in the vaccine scandal or to avoid punishment.

The website of Shandong's Center for Disease Control says that around 252,600 doses of substandard vaccines produced by the company went to eight cities and were administered to 215,184 children.

The public has accused Shandong's disease control center of malpractice as the center failed to immediately provide repeat dosages for the  children and did not report the substandard vaccines to the public.

Last week, the center issued a notice which claimed to have stopped injections after finding that the vaccines were substandard and made a thorough investigation into their whereabouts, storage and victims' information within three days.

Separately, China's drug watchdog said Tuesday that the substandard vaccines provided by a company in Wuhan, Central China's Hubei Province was accidental, and that the company has recalled all unopened products amid public outrage. The Wuhan Institute of Biological Product Company also entered the spotlight as the public questioned the whereabouts and effectiveness of the 400,000 substandard DPT vaccines sold in Southwest China's Chongqing Municipality and North China's Hebei Province.


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