Posted on Sep 29, 2015 by Rob McBroom
The expat landscape in the country is changing, with many of the older expats holding upper-level positions now being replaced by a more diverse and younger demographic. What this means is that many expat couples are moving overseas and starting their families after they have moved. We all know at least one or two couples who moved to China and had a baby while living here.
Combine this with the fact that many hospitals, especially those in Tier-1 cities, are rapidly increasing in quality of service, and many would-be moms are considering staying in China to give birth. While there are many things to consider when giving birth in China, one of the most important - vaccines - can have a lasting impact on the health of your baby. As with many other countries around the world, vaccines for newborns has become a major talking point in the country, with many questions being raised around this topic.
Vaccines for newborns in China
There are two things to consider here when looking at what vaccines a newborn child will need when they are born in China. The first is the general vaccination schedule and the second is country specific vaccinations.
When it comes to the vaccination schedule, China follows the same general immunization schedule as most other countries which includes the following:
- Hepatitis B
- Diphtheria (DTaP)
- Chickenpox (Varicella)
- Hepatitis A
- Measles (MMR)
- Mumps (MMR)
- Pertussis (DTaP)
- Polio (IPV)
- Pneumococcal (PCV)
- Rotavirus (RV)
- Rubella (MMR)
- Tetanus (DTaP)
Many of these shots, especially MMR, DTaP, and PCV require multiple injections at different ages. For example, DTaP is usually given in a series of three shots at 2, 4, and 6 months with a booster given between 4 and 6 years. Interestingly, the time at which these are given often varies slightly by country and even by doctor. So, it would be a good idea to consult with your physician in China as to when you should get your baby immunized.
Because there can often be confusion as to when to get your baby immunized, many expats will also consult with a pediatrician in their home country. The reason for this is that, if you plan to move home in the near future, you will likely need to prove that your baby has had their immunizations on time. This can also cut confusion down should you decide to move home with a newborn and continue the immunization schedule.
The second form of immunization you need to be aware of is China-specific immunizations. As expats you likely come from a country where some diseases like Japanese Encephalitis are non-existent or extremely uncommon. If you have your baby in China, it would be a good idea to talk to your physician about what China-specific immunizations they will need and when your baby should have them.
Where do I get vaccines for my baby in China?
China, like almost every other country, does offer an immunization program (called the National Immunization Program) that aims to offer all parents of newborns in China essential vaccines at low or no cost through public hospitals. These immunizations are locally produced and, while there is little doubt that they are perfectly fine, some parents may be worried as to their quality, and will instead opt for imported vaccines.
As with most imported goods in China, these immunizations can be quite expensive and, much like delivery packages at hospitals, many private and international hospitals in China will bundle these vaccinations into a package. Take for example United Family Healthcare's baby wellness and immunization package, which costs RMB 18,565. Parkway Health offers a similar package which costs RMB 19,650 for the full two year package.
Of course, these packages also include health checkups, but this can be an expense many families may not have budgeted for.
Will they be covered by health insurance?
One of the best ways to offset the higher vaccination costs while also ensuring that your child can receive the best health care possible is through an international health insurance plan. These plans all cover vaccinations for newborns, but the one thing to be aware of is that each plan does have different limits as to what is covered and the amount you can claim.
In other words, some plans will certainly cover the packages above, while others may cover a portion. What this means is that you should check the policy wording of your plan so that you know exactly what is covered. If you find the coverage levels to be unsatisfactory, contact Pacific Prime China's insurance experts today. They can help you find a plan for your newborn that offers better coverage.