The country's immunization drive has been given a shot in the
arm to protect people against 15 infectious diseases for free, a
document from the Ministry of Health said yesterday.
The plan will see China holding the world's most extensive
immunization drive, with 14 vaccines covering the 15 diseases,
ministry spokesman Mao Qun'an said at a press conference
Eight vaccines have been added to prevent diseases such as
hepatitis A and epidemic cerebrospinal meningitis, Mao said.
Among the new vaccines are four specially formulated for
children, the ministry said. The rest are targeted at special
groups of people deemed particularly susceptible to certain
Premier Wen Jiabao first announced the ongoing nationwide
immunity drive at the Fifth Session of the Tenth National People's
Congress in March last year.
Before that, six vaccines were included in a plan that immunized
people against tuberculosis, measles, polio, whooping cough and
"Immunization provides protection not only to the immunized,
but, in the case of many diseases, also the people with whom the
immunized person comes in contact with," Mao said.
In two years', more than 90 percent of children will be
vaccinated against most of the infectious diseases, the
Mao also said some adverse effects are inevitable for a small
group of people because of their constitutions.
The government will compensate victims in such situations after
the requisite verification, Mao said.
In response to public outcry over a umbilical cord blood bank in
Shanghai profiteering from supplies meant for private use, Mao said
an expert team had already been deployed to investigate the
The Shanghai cord blood bank opened in 2006 in a bid to store
donated cord blood and help match supplies to patients at no
(China Daily February 19, 2008)