A Chinese city is trying to appease locals who are worried about vaccines by offering a shot to seniors for roughly $3,000 — a heavily discounted deal for the substantial sum.
Shenzhen, a city of about 9 million people, initially sold the discounted offer for one dose of vaccine costing 200 yuan ($30) to 9,000 yuan ($1,537) to the elderly.
Following strong backlash on Weibo and a scathing article by The Guardian, the city government on Monday postponed the sale of the special vaccine for just one day. (Currently, Shenzhen is offering discounts of about 50 percent on the 3,634-cent shot for adults.)
“The objective of this vaccination was to properly enforce child vaccinations,” Wang Bo, the head of Shenzhen’s Bureau of Food and Drugs, told Reuters. “The whole world is getting more and more concerned over this and people are asking about the authenticity of this vaccine. We had to take it off the market and put it back in vogue as a health service.”
The government plans to offer the vaccine again in two weeks, according to the state-run Beijing News.
Shenzhen, which is southwest of Hong Kong, is in China’s Guangdong province, an epicenter of the country’s vaccine supply scandal. The government in March ordered clinics to halt vaccination services and investigate all imported vaccines.
The chemical residue found in the tainted vaccines, which were widely used for newborn babies and children, first came to light after the death of a 2-year-old in Jiangsu province.
The scandal has drawn scrutiny to China’s murky private sector and seen an investigation into companies linked to the outbreak.