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Hebei Provides Free Hepatitis B Vaccine to Babies
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North China's Hebei province will provide free hepatitis B vaccines to babies born after Dec. 1, 2002, a source from the local department for disease control said.

Hebei province already provides babies with free vaccines for poliomyelitis, DPT, measles and tuberculosis, at an annual cost of about 20 million yuan (US$2.4 million), said Cao Jiping, director of the provincial department for disease control.

Hepatitis B infects 500,000 people each year in China, a quarter of all in the world, making it one of the country's top infectious diseases. Currently, there are about 20 million chronic hepatitis B carriers in China, who suffer greatly in health, employment and marriage.

Cao added that a one-time injection will be used to protect children's safety.

(Xinhua News Agency November 20, 2002)

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