Vaccine Injuries in China

Kill or cure: Vaccines in China

Updated: 2013-07-05

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More than one billion vaccines are given to Chinese people every year, but for every life they help save from disease – the dreaded jab also harms more than 1,000 children, according to the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Those harmed children suffer from vaccine sequela, meaning a condition or event which can be anything from nerve damage to death.

Most countries have online reporting systems, but in China everyone agrees more can be done to improve the country’s vaccination system.

Wang Yu, director of CCDCP, said there are advanced vaccine technologies and some other countries are using them. But China’s vaccine technology is upgraded very slowly or not at all. China is still using vaccine production techniques from 30 years ago.

Peking University Professor Wang Yuedan blames a lack of talent. “The main disparity is in talent. There has been serious talent drainage in the field of immunology due to low pay and career development. Immunology is the core area in biomedicine and the West keeps their vaccine technology secret from us. If we don’t change the system, the talent will continue to drain and there will be no substantial improvements in this field.”

Li Baoxiang, whose son was left paralyzed after a H1N1 flu vaccine in Linyi city, Shandong province, wrote, “the needle of the vaccine landed on our family like a nuclear bomb and destroyed our children and our family… Since no country can ensure the vaccine is 100 percent safe, there should be an effective aid system for those who suffer adverse reactions.”

The Southern Metropolis Daily spent three years following nearly 50 families with similar cases. The following are some of their stories.


Profile: Lu Jiarun, female, born in Shangqiu city, Henan province on May 25, 2009.

Vaccine: A Meningococcal Vaccine

When Lu Jiarun was just 7 months old she could stand and would wake up each morning calling “papa”. Lu Weiwei felt he was among the happiest men in the world, but a vaccine meant to save his little girl from getting sick did the complete opposite and ended his happiness for good.

In 2009, her mother took the little girl to a local health center to be vaccinated against meningitis. On returning home, the girl began crying before going into convulsions. After treatment at different hospitals, her condition deteriorated and medics said it was caused by a reaction to the vaccine.

After numerous twists and turns in claims for compensation, finally the family got 120,000 yuan from the local government. But the money could only support her treatment to the end of 2012, when they faced extreme hardship again. After years of treatment, the child did not recover.



Profile: Fei Jingming, female, born in Yancheng city, Jiangsu province on July 26, 1992.

Vaccine: The Type A H1N1 flu vaccine

In 2009, 17-year-old Fei had a good opera voice and was eager to join an art college. In November, she asked her parents whether she should get the H1N1 flu vaccine. Her father had already received the vaccine and advised her to do so. But it was a decision they regret.

After the injection, she started getting pains in her joints. The next day she started bleeding from her eyes and was diagnosed with a blood disorder. Doctors said the only possible treatment was a marrow transplant. But a successful marrow match was not found in time and on March 8, 2010, her illness deteriorated and she died.

Later, the girl’s mother found the production company of the vaccine was suspended for making fake vaccines.

“How could the fake vaccines pass examination and be purchased by the government? How many more families like me have lost their children because of fake vaccines?” asked the mother.



Profile: Dong Zixin, female, born in Shangqiu city, Henan province on May 4, 2009.

Vaccine: A Meningococcal Vaccine

In May 2009, Dong’s birth brought great joy to the family. Seven months later she was vaccinated against meningitis, but soon developed complications. On the same day, she got a fever and later went into convulsions.

A few days later, the doctor told them the child had untreatable irreversible cerebral lesions. The family was awarded compensation of 300,000 yuan.



Profile: Zhang Wen, female, born in Jingmen city, Hubei province on April 11, 1997

Vaccine: Measles Vaccine, Live

Zhang Wen was once a healthy child who played the drums and was eager to enter art college.

In October 2009, a measles vaccine changed her life. A week after the injection, Zhang began coughing and a runny nose. Later she got back pain and had difficulty going to the toilet Zhang said felt like she was wearing scalding shoes and would rather die. She asked to give up treatment several times.

After years of treatment, Zhang is still weak and can only go to school for a half day. The drum kit is discarded in the basement covered in dust.



Qin Chunhao has been enduring painful acupuncture treatments for nine years, March 5, 2013. [Photo/CFP]



Zhang Junlong had to stay in bed for three years, Dec 31, 2011. [Photo/CFP]



Xie Junjie can only stay in the attic with only tools to keep him company, March 30, 2013. [Photo/CFP]



A month after this photo was taken on March 29, 2013, Gong Zichong died. [Photo/CFP]



Ma Yuxuan has little consciousness but his body keeps growing, April 13, 2013. [Photo/CFP]



Li Jiaxin‘s language and motor functions are damaged, and she can only move slowly, Feb 12, 2011. [Photo/CFP]



Lu Xiaokang is tied to a chair by his parents so he can enjoy some winter sunshine, Jan 4, 2012. [Photo/CFP]



Every morning at 6:00, Wang Linjie and his wife take their child to hospital for treatment. [Photo/CFP]



The room is the whole world for Wang Zhaojie, who can only drink through an injection in the mouth, March 6, 2013. [Photo/CFP]



Xu Changtao, whose body was becoming weaker, dropped out of school and follows his mother when she works in the field, March 24, 2013. [Photo/CFP]



Chen Yizhuo died in 2010, photo taken on Feb 11, 2011. [Photo/CFP]



Song Haoran plays in the porcelain store owned by his parents, who sold their house for his treatment three years ago, March 7, 2013. [Photo/CFP]



Tan Jieyi had a curved spine and could not walk right, Jan 20, 2011. [Photo/CFP]



Li Zhikang, who used to do well in school, could only sit or lie all day and relieves himself in bed, March 10, 2013. [Photo/CFP]



Wang Yixiao stays with her toys and her parents work hard for her medical treatments, March 10, 2013. [Photo/CFP]



Gao Chenxiang had a vaccine in this bed three years ago, and since then he can only stay in the bed, May 5, 2013. [Photo/CFP]



Six-year-old Sun Shuqing looks like she’s 2 years old, and most of her time is spent in her room, March 5, 2013. [Photo/CFP]



Fang Qinyi has recovered from lymph cancer, but his parents are worried about a relapse, March 31, 2013. [Photo/CFP]



Twelve-year-old Liang Jiayi looks like a 6-year-old and he cannot take care of himself, September 1, 2011



Fang Zanhong could not stand up anymore, April 22, 2013. [Photo/CFP]



Qi Guanjie stays in bed all day and his parents have made a urinal for him, March 7, 2013



Yang Xinhao receives treatment at Beijing Children’s Hospital, April 13, 2011. [Photo/CFP]



Xu Yiwen can now play drums after a second brain surgery, March 28, 2013. [Photo/CFP]



Vaccine victims take a group photo in Jining city, Shandong province, May 1, 2013. They are: Li Wenya, left, Xu Changtao, Zhang Ziqian, Qiao Yuanbo, Li Yuwei, Zhang Feng, Zhang Congge, Ji Mo, Wang Yuanyuan, and Feng He. [Photo/CFP]



– Newly born babies receive vaccines at a hospital in Aksu, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, China


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