WHO responds to the vaccine incident in China

Media statement

WHO is aware of reports of vaccines being purchased by a private family and resold to hospitals and clinics. Chinese authorities are currently investigating the case and will make the results public in coming days. WHO awaits the investigation results and stands ready to provide support to national health authorities.

Vaccines need to be stored and managed properly or they can lose potency and become less effective. It is important to note, however, that improperly stored or expired vaccine seldom if ever causes a toxic reaction – therefore there is likely to be minimal safety risk in this particular situation. Rather, the risk to children from administering expired or improperly stored vaccine is lack of protection from the disease for which the vaccine was intended.

Vaccines used in China’s Expanded Program on Immunization are known to be safe and effective. The program vaccines have made China free from polio and have reduced vaccine preventable diseases such as hepatitis B among children to very low levels in China. WHO encourages parents continue to protect their children from vaccine preventable diseases through China’s routine Expanded Program on Immunization.

About the World Health Organization (WHO)

WHO is the directing and coordinating authority for health within the United Nations system. It is responsible for providing leadership on global health matters, shaping the health research agenda, setting norms and standards, articulating evidence-based policy options, providing technical support to countries and monitoring and assessing health trends

For more information, please contact:

Ms WU Linlin
WHO China Office
E-mail: wul@who.int
Office Tel: +86 10 6532 7191


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