Xi'an overhauls rabies vaccine industry

rabies vaccine industry

Authorities in the northwestern city of Xi'an will overhaul the rabies vaccine industry following reports that a local woman died after being bitten by a dog despite receiving the vaccination.

The victim died 28 days after being bitten by a dog on June 20, according to Hongxing News. The woman, surnamed Long, had received four rabies shots in a hospital in Xi'an, capital of Shaanxi Province, the report said.

The story fueled a public outcry, with an online post about it attracting nearly 5,000 comments on Sina Weibo, a Twitter-like service. Many questioned the quality of the rabies vaccine.

Authorities with Xi'an Food and Drug Administration said they would investigate the storage, transportation and use of rabies vaccines in the city. An investigation will also be conducted at outpatient services handling exposure to rabies.

Any organizations or individuals found illegally storing and transporting vaccines will face "a severe crackdown," according to the administration.

A scandal broke in 2016 in which millions of dollars of improperly stored or expired vaccines were sold to patients nationwide. A total of 125 people were arrested and 37 officials put under investigation for negligence and graft.

Following the scandal, the country carried out a series of measures to fix loopholes in the distribution of vaccines, including banning drug wholesalers from selling vaccines and reforming distribution channels for the country's non-compulsory vaccines.

Rabies is a class 2 notifiable disease in China. As dogs have become popular as pets in China, cases of rabies have been on the increase. In 2006, at least 16 people died of rabies in eastern China's Shandong Province after several dog attacks.

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