China to offer free COVID-19 vaccination to citizens: official
The cost of COVID-19 vaccination, including both vaccines' expenses and inoculation fees, will be covered by medical insurance fund and government fiscal, rather than individuals, said a Chinese official Saturday.
After the vaccines are approved and available to the general public, they will be offered free to the Chinese people, who can receive inoculation on a voluntary, informed basis, said Li Tao, deputy director of the National Healthcare Security Administration, at a press conference.
Individual vaccine recipients do not need to pay the bill, fully demonstrating the concept of putting people and life first, Li said.
He also noted that the administration's disbursement on COVID-19 vaccines will not affect the current revenue and expenditure of medical insurance fund or the medical treatment of residents.
Free vaccination will help ensure universal protection for the public to safeguard normal production and life, as well as healthy economic and social development, which will further promote the long-term sustainable operation of the medical insurance fund, Li said.
"We are working with relevant departments to formulate a detailed operation plan to guarantee that the vaccination expenditure is fully covered," he added.
China approved the emergency use of COVID-19 vaccines in June, targeting groups with high risks of infection.
On Dec. 15, China officially launched a vaccination program for this winter-spring period targeting a number of key groups, including those engaged in handling imported cold-chain products, customs officers, medical workers and people working in public transport and fresh markets.
China granted conditional marketing authorization for the first COVID-19 vaccine in December. The inactivated vaccine developed by China National Biotec Group affiliated with Sinopharm showed 79.34 percent efficacy against COVID-19, according to the interim results of the phase-3 clinical trials.