Chinese Government Must Improve Its Vaccine Delivery Performance
New York Times: If a Government Can’t Deliver Safe Vaccines for Children, Is It Fit to Rule?
Yanzhong Huang, senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations and professor at Seton Hall University’s School of Diplomacy and International Relations
“Earlier this month, hundreds of aggrieved parents gathered outside the government office in Jinhu County, in the eastern province of Jiangsu, demanding an explanation for why 145 infants had been administered expired doses of the polio vaccine. It was China’s fifth vaccine scandal in less than seven years, and yet another blow to the country’s drug industry, its national immunization program, its regulatory authorities — and to the very legitimacy of the Chinese Communist Party (C.C.P.). … So how can the Chinese government get out of its legitimacy bind? To limit the chances of being perceived as under-delivering public goods, it should stop over-promising them, and concentrate on the ones that the people think are of the utmost importance to their well-being, such as food and vaccine safety. To improve its performance in delivering those, the government should allow economic and social forces to play a bigger role. … [T]he party-state is generally unwilling to pursue widely unpopular policies and risk triggering mass discontent. In this sense … lies some reason for optimism about the future of vaccine safety in China, more rational and more effective policy-making overall, and maybe even some measure of decentralization within the party itself” (1/30).