So Hong Kong middlemen profited from China vaccine scare: that’s business
The reports of substandard vaccine manufacturing in mainland China have sparked an uproar and been condemned both nationally and internationally. Even President Xi Jinping described as “appalling” the scandal over the faulty DPT vaccines, which are meant to target diphtheria, whooping cough and tetanus.
After the scandal was exposed, and concerned parents sought to get infants vaccinated overseas, Hong Kong institutions acting as go-betweens were found to be profiteering from making advance arrangements for mainland babies to be vaccinated in the city. One agent was reportedly charging almost HK$20,000 (US$2,500) for a set of 16 assured shots, to be administered by the time the child turned two.
From a moral standpoint, such unscrupulous money-grubbing business practices can seem as bad as the problematic policies of the mainland vaccine manufacturers. However, I would reserve judgment. After all, businessmen are in the profession to make money. So when an opportunity for higher profit presents itself, it’s hard for them not to try their best to make the most of it. What is the problem with that?
After the 2008 tainted milk formula scandal in the mainland, parents there were willing to pay Hong Kong pharmacies more to buy up their tins of infant milk powder, as they did not trust local suppliers. Our fellow Hongkongers are just extending a helping hand while extending the other for some reward. What’s the big deal?
Randy Lee, Ma On Shan