• To make matters worse, the vaccine scandal has created an atmosphere of distrust toward China’s medical system.

To make matters worse, the vaccine scandal has created an atmosphere of distrust toward China’s medical system. (Photo : Getty Images)

The State Council has promised on Monday, March 27, to intensity investigations regarding the exposed vaccine scandal. A special team has been set up to closely investigate the regulatory system that supposedly failed to halt distribution of substandard vaccines, according to an article by China Daily.

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The team is composed of various officials from the Ministry of Public Security, National Health and Family Planning Commission, China Food and Drug Administration, Ministry of Supervision, and the Supreme People's Procuratorate.

The team will be led by Bi Jingquan, head of the China Food and Drug Administration, and will operate under the supervision of an inspection team helmed by deputy secretary-general of the State Council Ding Xiangyang.

Another committee composed of experts is also involved in the investigations.

The scandal was first reported in late February this year, but it was revealed that the nationwide distribution of inferior vaccines has been going on since 2011.

A number of arrests have taken place since the news broke out, including the arrest of a mother and daughter team in Shandong Province. They allegedly sold expired or improperly stored vaccines in about 20 provinces for five years.

Over 130 suspects have also been detained by police, while 30 drug distribution companies were found out to be involved in the illegal trade of vaccines.

On Monday, Premier Li Keqiang vowed that the Chinese government will strengthen protection of public health. Any dereliction of duty and other criminal offenses in food and drug supplies will be punished.

Experts such as Wang Yukai, an administrative professor from the Chinese Academy of Governance, said that toughened measures indicate the government's seriousness regarding the issue.

The creation of an inspection team will also do much to help quell public outrage, said Wang.

Meanwhile, the participation of top prosecutors in the investigation indicates dereliction of duty in the administrative level, according to Zhu Lijia, a professor of public administration from Chinese Academy of Governance.

"By setting up such a team involving so many government entities and professional staff, I think there has been a timely response to the incident," said Zhu in an interview with China Daily.