A medical worker vaccinates a man against the novel coronavirus at a healthcare center in Honglian Community in Xicheng district of Beijing, capital of China, Jan 3, 2021. (ZHANG CHENLIN/XINHUA)
BEIJING - China will provide COVID-19 vaccines free of charge once they become available to the general public and people can receive inoculation on a voluntary and informed basis, said a Chinese official Saturday.
The cost of COVID-19 vaccination, including both vaccines' expenses and inoculation fees, will be covered by medical insurance fund and government fiscal budgets, said Li Tao, deputy director of the National Healthcare Security Administration, at a press conference.
We are working with relevant departments to formulate a detailed operation plan to guarantee that the vaccination expenditure is fully covered.
Li Tao, deputy director of the National Healthcare Security Administration
Vaccine recipients do not need to pay for the vaccines, fully demonstrating the concept of putting people and life first, Li said.
He also said 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, 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.
More than 9m doses administered
More than 9 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in China, said a senior health official
Starting Dec 15, China officially launched the COVID-19 vaccination program for this winter-spring period targeting a number of key groups, including those engaged in the handling of imported cold-chain products, customs officers, medical workers and people working in public transport and fresh markets.
Since then, more than 7.5 million doses have been inoculated among these key groups, said Zeng Yixin, deputy head of the National Health Commission.
With the previous 1.6 million doses targeting groups with high risks of infection, a total of over 9 million doses have been inoculated in China, Zeng said.
China sees a bigger risk of the virus spreading in winter as people travel and gather for holidays, Zeng said.
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