Evidence to Policy Pathway to Immunisation in China


Many newer vaccines are not centrally funded in China, and therefore people pay for them out-of-pocket. China is investigating whether to increase the range of vaccines that are fully funded by the central government. However, this will require a lot of money and manufacturing capacity to supply China’s large population. Authorities in China need evidence of the potential health benefits, budget impact, and value for money of investments in funding new vaccines. In addition, sufficient and reliable public demand needs to be assured so that local manufacturers will ensure a reliable and uninterrupted vaccine supply. Maintaining public confidence in vaccines in the face of concerns around vaccine safety is also crucial.

The National Institute for Public Health and Care Research (NIHR)-funded Evidence to Policy Pathway to Immunisation in China (EPPIC) Global Health Research Group brought together four British and Chinese public health and academic partners: the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), Public Health England (PHE), Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC), and Fudan University. EPPIC’s structure was inspired by the NIHR-funded Health Protection Research Unit in Immunisation, in which LSHTM and PHE jointly conduct research to inform UK vaccine policy.

EPPIC’s research focused on three core areas:

  • Collecting and analysing data on health and the economic consequences of vaccine-preventable diseases in China;
  • Understanding vaccine supply, demand and decision-making among the public, vaccine manufacturers and key stakeholders;
  • Using findings from areas 1 and 2 in mathematical models to project the health and economic impact that vaccine introduction could have, particularly among the groups with the worst health. We will focus research around vaccines that are of most interest to decision-makers but are not currently centrally funded.

From 3rd – 7th June 2019, EPPIC organised a visit by leaders involved in decision-making and the implementation of the national immunisation programme in China to the UK.

During the five day visit, delegates from China and the UK had the opportunity to interact with key policy-makers, public health officials and researchers from PHE, LSHTM, NHS England, NIHR and the Greater London Authority. On June 7th, a symposium hosted by the LSHTM Vaccine Centre, entitled ‘Vaccine Centre UK-China Symposium: Evidence to Inform Vaccine Policy’ provided an opportunity for scientific exchange between Chinese delegates and researchers at LSHTM.

On 12th – 14th August 2019, EPPIC members from LSHTM, Fudan University and the University of Hong Kong organised a training workshop on infectious disease modelling to build capacity in this area in China. The workshop was held at Fudan University in Shanghai and attracted 65 attendees from universities and public health institutions across China. The course covered a wide range of topics including modelling transmission of infectious diseases, health economic analysis, geospatial modelling and phylodynamic analyses.