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April 24, 2010

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More children get vaccines

MORE than 95 percent of migrant children in the city were inoculated last year, a big jump from the 50 percent in 2001, Shanghai Health Bureau said ahead of China's National Immunization Day, which is tomorrow.

This year's theme is the eradication of measles and the control of hepatitis B.

Local carriers of the hepatitis B virus dropped to 4.4 percent in 2006 from 6.8 percent in 1992, when China included hepatitis B vaccine in the free inoculation plan covering all newborn babies. China has 120 million virus carriers including 30 million hepatitis B patients.

Only 1.5 percent of local children under seven years old are virus carriers.

Nationwide, hepatitis B virus carriers fell from 9.75 percent in 1992 to 7.18 percent in 2006. Less than 1 percent children below five years old have the virus.

Health officials said the measles and hepatitis B inoculations are effective in protecting children from early death and liver problems.

Last year, the city gave over 10 million inoculations and over 99 percent of local children received shots.

Local health authorities carried out an investigation to locate children who missed measles inoculations in March and a similar campaign will be launched in September to increase coverage and prevent transmission of measles.

China began its free immunization plan for all children in 1978 and expanded the program in 2007.


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