Childhood immunization for foreign children in China
Whether you’re planning on visiting or already living in China, it’s important for you and your family to stay healthy while in the country. With so many things to do and places to see, China remains one of the top destinations for short- and long-term visitors alike. However, you may want to ensure you and your family are vaccinated to stay as healthy and safe as possible. In this Pacific Prime China article, we will take a look at childhood immunization for foreign children in China, including requirements, recommended schedules, and more.
Vaccinations of foreign children in China
Foreign children residing in China benefit from the same vaccinations as the locals. Foreign children can visit their local healthcare center to receive a vaccination. Similarly, they can visit designated hospitals to receive a vaccine as well.
Foreign children who are born at local obstetrics hospitals will receive BCG and hepatitis B vaccinations, as well as a bilingual vaccination certificate. The child’s guardian can then take the child and the certificate to the local healthcare center to receive vaccinations.
Guardians of foreign children who are entering the country will have to prepare a vaccination record prior to arrival. Likewise, any foreign-language records must be translated into English so that they can be translated into Chinese at a disease prevention center in China. Once they have the Chinese document, they can go to the local healthcare center to receive vaccinations.
China’s National Immunization Program
According to Xinhuanet, China has maintained a vaccination rate of over 90% under its National Immunization Program. Through this immunization program, children are required to have vaccinations against diseases such as measles, hepatitis B, and poliomyelitis.
The World Health Organization (WHO) states that the program is an academic and government organization whose goal is to raise awareness regarding the benefits of immunization and promote the understanding and use of vaccinations to help control, eliminate, and eradicate diseases that are vaccine-preventable.
Vaccine scandals in China
In 2018, China experienced what the South China Morning Post called the “worst public health crisis in years” when Changsheng Biotechnology, a Chinese vaccine maker, was found guilty of fabricating records and changing process equipment and parameters during its production of human rabies vaccines.
Moreover, Changsheng Biotechnology’s substandard vaccines for diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus (DPT) were administered to 215,184 Chinese children while 400,520 of Wuhan Institute of Biological Products’ substandard DPT vaccines were sold in Chongqing and Hebei.
Even before the 2018 incident, a series of vaccine scandals from 2013 to 2016 led to the death of 21 Chinese infants. While the Changsheng scandal didn’t directly attribute to fatalities, the case captured the public’s attention and led to a public outcry. The recurrence of vaccine-related incidences led to criticism of China’s government and medical system. To address issues caused by vaccine scandals, the latest version of the Basic Health Services and Health Promotion Law includes provisions to strengthen vaccine management.
Childhood immunization schedule
The following immunization schedule recommendation comes from Hong Kong’s Department of Health. According to the Hong Kong Immunization Program (HKCIP), Maternal and Child Health Centers (MCHCs) offer immunization to children up to five years old. The recommended schedule of immunizations involves vaccines that should be administered to every child from birth.
By following these recommendations, children are protected from contagious and dangerous diseases that their immune systems may not be strong enough to fight.
Hepatitis B Vaccine – First Dose
|1 month||Hepatitis B Vaccine – Second Dose|
|2 months||DTaP-IPV Vaccine – First Dose
Pneumococcal Vaccine – First Dose
|4 months||DTaP-IPV Vaccine – Second Dose
Pneumococcal Vaccine – Second Dose
|6 months||DTaP-IPV Vaccine – Third Dose
Hepatitis B Vaccine – Third Dose
|12 months||MMR Vaccine (Measles, Mumps & Rubella) – First Dose
Pneumococcal Vaccine – Booster Dose
Varicella Vaccine – First Dose
|18 months||DTaP-IPV Vaccine – Booster Dose|
|Primary 1||MMRV (Measles, Mumps, Rubella & Varicella) – Second Dose
DTaP-IPV Vaccine – Booster Dose
|Primary 5||Human Papillomavirus Vaccine – First Dose|
|Primary 6||DTaP-IPV Vaccine – Booster Dose
Human Papillomavirus Vaccine – Second Dose
Even though there are suggested schedules for immunizing newborns in China, expats living in the country may want to have a look at the immunization guidelines in your country to see if the schedule might be a more suitable fit for your family. Then speak with your doctor to see if they think it’s a good idea and can work with your suggested schedule.
Health insurance in China and vaccines
Local vaccinations cost less than imported vaccinations. Likewise, vaccinations in your home country cost less than imported vaccinations in China. The right health insurance plan for expat families in China can help cover these costs. If you want to vaccinate your child against diseases that are not part of a standard vaccination schedule in your home country, you’ll need to ensure that your health insurance will cover extra vaccinations such as rabies, BCG, and Japanese Encephalitis.
To find out if your current plan covers immunization costs, or to find the right international health insurance in China, contact our expert advisors at Pacific Prime China. What’s more, Pacific Prime China can provide plan comparisons from global health insurance companies that cover China, along with maternity health insurance in China, and more.
When she’s not writing, she’s likely searching for a new restaurant or cafe to try, reading or doing yoga.
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