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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.

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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.

Vaccination procedures

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.

Newborn BCG Vaccine

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.

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Content Creator at Pacific Prime China
Jantra Jacobs is a content writer at Pacific Prime. On a typical work day, she writes and edits articles, guides and anything else word-related. She aims to produce content that is easy for readers to understand and enjoyable at the same time.

When she’s not writing, she’s likely searching for a new restaurant or cafe to try, reading or doing yoga.