Expanded programme on immunization
Mission and goals
The mission of the Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) in China is to support the Chinese Government's efforts to control and prevent vaccine-preventable diseases through timely vaccination, effective surveillance, and strengthening China's routine immunization programme.
In line with global and regional targets, China's EPI has three overarching immunization goals: 1) To maintain poliomyelitis-free status until global eradication and subsequent certification are achieved. 2) To eliminate measles by 2015, and 3) To reduce chronic hepatitis B infection to lower than 2% among children under 5 by 2012.
EPI works closely with the National Immunization Program of China's Ministry of Health to strengthen immunization systems, to improve coverage and quality, to support the implementation of targeted disease-prevention efforts (e.g., measles, viral hepatitis, polio) and to examine the potential introduction of new vaccines.
In June 2012, China was officially verified as having reached the regional hepatitis B control goal of reducing chronic hepatitis B infection in young children from over 7% to less than 2%. China actually exceeded the goal by reducing infection to under 1%. Technical support was provided by WHO EPI and other key partners.
In November 2012, China was verified to have eliminated maternal and neonatal tetanus. WHO EPI and other partners provided technical support.
Between July and October 2011, China experienced an outbreak caused by imported wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) from Pakistan. In this outbreak, polio paralyzed 21 people in four prefectures in Xinjiang. With technical assistance from WHO EPI and other partners, China quickly interrupted transmission of the virus. In November of 2012, WHO formally recognized that China's prompt and effective response to the outbreak confirmed its polio-free status.