[Commentary] A Case of Severe Vaccine Adverse Effect Reported in Suzhou, China

Author: MOS James Zoebel

On June 1st, a netizen nicknamed “Back to Back and Saying not Meeting” from Suzhou, Eastern China posted a short video on Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter, sharing her younger brother’s severe situation after receiving a Coronavirus vaccination shot. The patient received a shot developed by Sinopharm’s Beijing Institute of Biological Products on the afternoon of April 20th, and reported symptoms of discomfort, abnormalities of the five senses (vision, hearing, touch, taste, and smell) and sank into unconsciousness later. Presently, this young man may still be receiving treatment in the intensive care unit (ICU) of the First Affiliated Hospital of Suzhou University.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is su1.jpg
Photo from Weibo

Caption: “This is what happened after the shot. He was healthy before that. They simply said this has nothing to do with the shot and we have to endure this?”

In late March, the Suzhou Health Commission published an online article “Authoritative Questions and Answers,” in which it warned people that if they have an adverse reaction (to vaccination), they should “report it to the staff at the vaccination site and seek medical attention if necessary.” Yet, the family has been experience nothing but obstacles and pain when trying to report to the authorities and seek medical treatment. 

According to the timeline recalled by the netizen, the family reported adverse effect to doctors at the vaccination site on April 30th, and was given a diagnosis of acute rhinitis. 

On May 2nd, the victim began to experience twitches. Since then, the victim kept visiting local hospitals, but doctors concluded he was fine and claimed he was too nervous about the abnormalities of the five senses. The young man was referred back to the vaccination site. Yet, doctors at the vaccination site did nothing to help. 

On May 10th, the family had no other option then contacting the Jiangsu Provincial Center for Disease Control (CDC). It was only until then that officials began to offer assistance. 

On May 12th, the victim was sent to the First Affiliated Hospital of Soochow University. By then, he was already unconscious. The family demanded immediate rescue efforts, but their request was not met. Local CDC officials told them the lab work could not be done until May 17th. On the afternoon of May 12th, the victim was sent to the Emergency Room. The family has been continuously communicating with the CDC and local medical administration, but these offices kept shifting the blame. The blogger wrote, “my brother has been in the ICU for over 20 days and no officials have offered any remedies. I wonder… when ‘laobaixing,’ average folks, encounter such scenarios, do we just suck it up since we have nowhere to turn to?”

According to the doctor-patient communication record on May 14th, the attending doctor noted, “the patient had been mentally abnormal for over two weeks, and been irritable with suicidal tendencies for two days,” and the doctor suspected “encephalitis.”

Phone from Weibo

On June 3rd, the blogger wrote, “All of a sudden, a healthy person became so sick and my parents’ hair turned gray overnight. All of our family income is now gone. Who can endure this tragedy and for how long?”

On June 7th, the blogger wrote, “We hope this is not true. How I wish this is just a dream and after I wake up my brother is healthy as usual! Yet, we could never go back to the old days.”

Presently, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has been pushing home-produced inactivated vaccination vigorously among its citizens. The question is when a vaccinated person has an adverse reaction, who should be responsible for the cost of his medical treatment? The young man in this story has been staying in the ICU for more than 20 days. Based on available online information, the current cost of a one-day ICU stay in a tertiary care hospital is about 10,000 RMB, approximately $1,600. Although medical insurance will reimburse part of the medical cost, it is difficult to cover the full amount, especially for some costly treatments. For example, if a patient is admitted to ICU for heart failure, the cost of a pacemaker is 100,000 RMB, or $16,000, but the medical insurance can only reimburse half of that, and the patient has to pay the remaining half out of pocket. In addition, many drugs and imported drugs commonly used in ICU will not be reimbursed by medical insurance. Such medical expenses could be a heavy burden for any ordinary family.


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