A nurse prepares a vaccine to be given to a child in a hospital in Beijing, China, April 13, 2016.
China's pharmaceutical industry has been plagued with such scandals, with another company Wuhan Institute of Biological Products also being implicated in the DPT vaccine issue past year and the police busting a gang for selling around $90 million worth of illegal vaccines on the black market in 2016. Scarlett Pong, president of the city's Pharmaceutical Society, added that there was an established information network which connected Hong Kong clinics with mainland Chinese customers.
Following Xi's instructions, the government of Jilin Province, which has been criticised throughout the scandal for its weak supervision, poor regulation and political inaction, vowed today to help the investigation and give the people an explanation.
Problems with the rabies vaccine were found on July 5, after a tip prompted regulators from the China Food and Drug Administration and a local agency to hold a spot inspection, state-run Xinhua reports.
But some social media users this week have pointed sardonically to Sun Xianze, the official in charge of food safety during the 2008 milk scandal.
But concerns have grown that problemmatic vaccines had already been administered to children.
Only a few days later, the CFDA issued a second statement, announcing that a separate investigation into Changsheng had discovered that the Jilin-based company had also been selling another type of substandard vaccine - one for treating diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus (DPT) - for which it has been fined 3.4 million yuan ($500,000).
In a statement released Sunday, Premier Li Keqiang said the company's conduct "violated a moral bottom line", and he pledged to "resolutely crack down" on threats to public safety, according to the Associated Press.
Huo Xiaoling, whose 1-year-old daughter received a vaccine produced by Changchun Changsheng, said that she would no longer buy Chinese-made vaccine since she could not trust officials to clean up this industry. However, the administration's findings came a little too late, as most of the faulty doses-about 252,600-had already been sold and shipped to the Shandong Province disease control and prevention center in eastern China.
After a brief trading halt, shares of Changchun Changsheng's parent company also fell by the 10 per cent limit.
It also flagged on Monday that the firm may face the risk of having to delist due to an investigation by China's securities regulator into suspected violations of information disclosure.
Separately, authorities in Hebei province near Beijing announced on Monday that almost 150,000 people had received a substandard diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis vaccine made by another firm, Wuhan Institute of Biological Products. They have slumped 47 percent since mid July.
Last week European regulators found that a common blood pressure and heart drug manufactured in bulk by Chinese firm Zhejiang Huahai Pharmaceutical may have contained an impurity linked to cancer since 2012.