Measles vaccination campaign in China proceeds safely
A little while ago I reported on a massive measles vaccination campaign in China, with the goal of reaching 100 million children from September 11 through September 20, 2010. The campaign was met with distrust by a portion of the chinese population, a product of previous chinese government health scandals. Clearly, this opposition to a government-backed initiative had to do with the lack of trust the chinese people have in their government, and is not indicative of the merits of the campaign. However, quite predictably, anti-vaccination sites jumped at the news as if the distrust the people of China harbor towards their government has anything to say about the vaccines themselves.
Good news is coming out of China, which will hopefully lay the question at rest in the public’s mind. According to Zhao Kai, a medical virology expert from the Chinese Academy of Engineering, in an interview with People’s Daily Online, as of September 14th, 50 million people had been vaccinated and only 400 adverse effects events had been recorded “the majority of which were allergic rash”.
Nevertheless, we must take these reported results with a grain of salt. Firstly, it is very early after the close of the campaign, and the full data is not available yet. Secondly, the vaccine used was produced domestically, and so far is showing lower rates of adverse effects than is expected from data from the WHO, which is a little interesting, since there is a tendency in totalitarian countries to make domestic products look/sound better than foreign counterparts. However, although we must keep that possibility in mind, wrong-doing cannot be presumed, but proven, so until, and if, evidence of wrong-doing comes out, we have to accept the results of this report.