Shanghai offers jabs for foreign minors
Shanghai, the city with the largest expatriate community on the Chinese mainland, will start registering foreign minors for COVID-19 vaccinations on Wednesday, the municipal authorities said.
The city's leadership office for COVID-19 prevention and control announced on Tuesday that foreigners aged 12 to 17 can register for the voluntary vaccination program.
Parents can make appointments for their children on the city's online Health Cloud platform.
The minors should be accompanied by their parents or guardians at the designated vaccination clinics.
They will need to present their passports, international travel documents or other ID documents.
Chinese COVID-19 vaccines will be administered at a cost of 100 yuan ($15.50) per dose.
Each minor should receive two doses a few weeks apart.
Foreign minors who are covered by China's social security medical insurance program will receive the inoculation free of charge.
Linda Painan, chairwoman of the Expatriate Center, a nonprofit organization in Shanghai, said when the city started the vaccination program for expatriate adults in March, a number of families asked when they could get their children vaccinated.
"Expat families here in China believe in the safety and effectiveness of the local Chinese vaccines…we are also looking forward to traveling when the borders open up, so getting our children vaccinated is a top priority," she said, adding that she will send her teenage children to be vaccinated.
Soraya Kadra, a French expatriate, said even though her children are not eligible to be vaccinated because they are too young, "it's very good news".
Kadra and her husband received their first doses at Tongren Hospital in April and the second in May.
"I remember that everything was very well organized and quick," she said.
Painan said the registration system implemented by the Shanghai government is comprehensive and easy to follow, but some families face the challenge of overcoming the language barrier and will require assistance at the clinics.
"TEC will undertake to understand the full process and procedure of vaccination, and play a bridging role of having a help desk manned by volunteers to answer any questions and concerns," she said.