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China to punish 357 over vaccine scandal

BBC News BBC News 14/04/2016

China has said that 357 officials are to face punishment over a scandal involving the illegal sale of vaccines.

The Xinhua news agency said 192 criminal cases had been filed over the case, which saw improperly stored or transported vaccines sent to 59 health institutions.

The government has said it will tighten procedures around vaccine-handling.

The scandal has caused widespread anger in China.

The illegal vaccine ring was reportedly in operation since 2011, and in April 2015 two women were arrested for selling some $88m (£61m) worth of vaccines.

But the details were only made public last month, when the authorities issued a call demanding that suppliers come forward to help them trace potential victims.

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China's State Council said the 357 officials faced demotion or losing their jobs and that 202 had been detained so far.

Health authorities have also urged people to continue coming forward for vaccinations.

The China office of the World Health Organization (WHO) has said vaccines needed to be handled properly or they can become less effective.

But it stressed that improperly kept vaccines did not in themselves present much danger.

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