The latest decision reforms distribution channels for B-class, or non-compulsory, vaccines.
It requires B-class vaccines to be distributed in the same way as A-class ones, which are covered by the national compulsory immunization program and provided to the public for free.
B-class vaccines must be procured by county-level disease control institutions directly from manufacturers and dispatched to hospitals, all under the organization of provincial-level disease control departments.
The decision also improves management of cold-chain storage and transportation, prohibiting vaccines from leaving the cold-chain system and requiring regular temperature monitoring.
Institutions or hospitals must receive storage temperature records alongside vaccines.
According to the decision, China will also set up a vaccine tracking system. Enterprises and user agencies must record the circulation and use of vaccines so that even the smallest vaccine package can be pinpointed anywhere in its entire life cycle.
In February, police in east China’s Shandong Province announced that they had arrested a mother and daughter suspected of illegally selling improperly stored or expired vaccines worth about 88 million U.S. dollars since 2011.
The scandal aroused public ire on vaccine management and fueled parents’ fears over the safety of their children.