Chinese internet companies launch online vaccine-tracking services following scandal
By Campos Santiago
Global Times

Internet firms launch web vaccine-tracking services

Chinese internet giants in recent days have launched new online vaccine-tracking services, allowing concerned parents to check the safety of their children's vaccines.

Concerned parents had previously been able to confirm the safety of these vaccines by checking with their local hospitals, but internet-savvy parents had been seeking information online. Search engine Sogou published data showing that searches on vaccine safety multiplied 20-fold in the week after the scandal emerged on July 17. 

E-commerce giant Alibaba came first, launching on Tuesday its vaccine inquiry service, which is accessible through many of its popular mobile apps. Users can search the batch number of a vaccine and check its validity and its use-by date.

The service uses data obtained through Alibaba's existing internet health platform, an Alibaba PR representative told the Global Times on Tuesday.

"The batch management systems of more than 95 percent of vaccine companies are already integrated in our AliHealth system," she said.

Search major Baidu followed soon after, launching a vaccine inquiry service on Wednesday through its popular search engine, using data from the China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA).

"Baidu has had access to CFDA databases since 2013, and we use official and reliable data on pharmaceutical products for other services such as the Baidu Encyclopedia," a Baidu representative told the Global Times.

Sogou search also launched its own vaccine search service on Wednesday, using public data from the CFDA and National Institutes for Food and Drug Control.

Cover image: VCG