Many parents ask which vaccination schedule they should follow upon arriving in Beijing. If your stay is only for a few months, it may be better to follow the vaccination schedule of your home country unless your baby is an infant. However, if your stay is long term, it may be advisable to follow the local schedule for both babies and adults.
“I suggest you document carefully the vaccinations that you and your children received before arriving. If you plan to return after a long term stay and want to follow your home country schedule, it’s better to visit your doctor in advance to enquire which vaccines are recommended during your stay and whether they are available currently in China,” advises Dr Xiao Ping Meng, Director of Pediatrics at Hong Kong International Medical Clinic, Beijing (Hong Kong Clinic).
In Europe and the United States, your child will normally receive the following vaccines:
• Hepatitis B, prevention against an infectious inflammatory illness of the liver
• DTaP, a combination vaccine that protects against three bacterial illnesses: Diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (whooping cough)
• Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), prevention against the inflammation of the brain or the lung
• Polio, prevention against a disease that may lead to paralysis
• Pneumococcal disease, the most common cause of bacterial infection of the lungs
• MMR, this is a combination vaccine for measles, mumps and rubella.
Vaccinations for rotavirus (characterized by heavy diarrhea) and varicella (chicken pox) are usually received in these countries. In addition, it’s recommended that children in the USA and Europe are immunized against Meningococcal Meningitis (inflammation of the brain).
If you were well immunized according to your own country’s vaccination schedule, the additional vaccinations for China and also recommended for traveling in other Asian countries are:
• Japanese encephalitis (caused by mosquito bites): it is a common communicable disease in Asia, and one should receive three shots in total.
• BCG (tuberculosis): a child in China usually receives BCG on the second day after birth, due to the high prevalence of TB in China.
• Hepatitis A (inflammation of the liver): two shots in total, six months apart.
Options for Vaccinations in China
China applies strict regulations on imported vaccines. In 2011, the World Health Organization announced that local vaccines now meet international standards, and the provincial government insists that the vaccines are safe and regulated if coming officially from the local Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
|Types of vaccination||Disease|
|Joint venture vaccines that are produced outside of China but packaged in China||Hepatitis A and B (child), Pentaxim (5 in 1 for Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis, Polio and Hib)|
|Local vaccines||Japanese encephalitis, BCG, Meningococcal meningitis|
Despite this, concerns over local vaccinations still exist. But the vaccination schedule is made according to the country’s own communicable disease prevalence, and therefore certain vaccines may only be provided in China or other Asian countries, so parents should make a decision based on balance and after consulting with their family doctor.
Dr. Xiao Peng Meng
Chief Pediatrician, Director of Pediatrics at Hong Kong International Medical Clinic, Beijing is in charge of pediatric medical service, child physical check-up and immunization (EPI) work .
We respect that vaccinations are a family’s personal choice.
This article originally appeared on page 23 of the October 2016 Issue of beijingkids magazine. Click here for your free online copy. To find out how you can obtain a hard copy, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
PHOTOS: COURTESY OF HONG KONG INTERNATIONAL MEDICAL CLINIC