Jilin and Shandong provincial anti-corruption watchdogs announced on July 24 that they will launch investigations on the recent vaccine scandals. Special teams have been set up in the two provinces to conduct inspections regarding any possible corruption problems.
Changchun Changsheng Bio-tech Co, a major vaccine producer based in Jilin province, sold more than 252,600 doses of substandard diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (DTaP) vaccines for infants in Shandong province.
Police in Changchun said 15 suspects including the company's chairwoman, surnamed Gao, were placed under criminal detention as the investigation continued.
"Anyone or any department that is responsible for the case will be punished resolutely in accordance with discipline and laws," said the statement posted on the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of the Communist Party of China and National Supervisory Commission.
The provincial commission is now examining leads and reports on the case, according to the statement.
It ordered the disciplinary department in Changchun, the provincial capital, and the disciplinary team of the provincial drug administration to see whether there was dereliction or neglect of duty.
The State Drug Administration announced last week that Changchun Changsheng Biotech also had fudged production records for rabies vaccines for human use.
The administration vowed on Monday that it will launch a thorough investigation of the whole process of vaccine production and sales of the Changsheng company to get to the bottom of the matter and secure evidence.
On July 23, President Xi Jinping ordered a thorough investigation into illegal vaccine production and serious punishment of those found responsible.
Shandong provincial disciplinary and supervisory commissions said that they have established a team for an investigation of people and departments involved.
It will investigate potential problems that occurred in the process of obtaining and use of the vaccines, including lack of supervision and those who may have benefited illegally.
Help was offered to parents concerned about whether the vaccines their children received are involved in the scandals.
Ali Health, Alibaba's medical health division, released an online app on Tuesday to trace a vaccine's identity code, production information and expiration date.
Users can find the app with the key words "vaccine check" in Alibaba's Taobao online shopping platform or Alipay system.
Detailed information about the dose will be shown after entering the vaccine information. If a dose is on the vaccine recall list, the app will show users a red alarm symbol with the recall information.
"I hope more positive changes will be witnessed to improve vaccine safety in China. Apart from a more strict inspection system and tougher punishment, transparency of inspection results is also needed," said Tao Lina, a medical expert from the Shanghai Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
"If the quality inspection data is available for the public and helps people make their own choice among different companies, it will boost healthy competition in the market," Tao said.