Free COVID-19 vaccination in China requires cooperative efforts from all sectors
Published: Dec 31, 2020 05:31 PM

Vaccine Photo: VCG

At Thursday's media briefing, Chinese health officials mentioned the price of vaccines. The price will depend on the scale of use, and the premise is that it would eventually offer free access to the vaccines. The policy is still yet to be clarified. 

The anti-virus fight is a public health cause. Treatment of the disease has been free of charge so far. If the country's financial resources are sufficient enough, obtaining vaccines for free is a good thing. But it is worth noting that "free" means all citizens share the costs, because the country's finances come from all enterprises and the work force. Free vaccines can be an option, but should not be used as a moral slogan and forcefully applied. The country will make the decision that best fits people's interests based on the actual conditions.

The fees for getting a vaccine can be shared by the country, companies and individuals. People with low income and those having difficulties in paying for the fee can get the vaccine for free. Companies should also play a role. Even if the vaccine is completely free, they should also take part in facilitating the process, as the health and safety of employees matter to the normal operation of companies. 

Situations vary. When a local government or a certain company orders that all employees get vaccinated, they should pay for it. When someone wants to get the vaccine on their own accord, they should pay for it as long as they can afford it. If there are financial difficulties, they can apply to the local government for a fee exemption, and this channel must be made smooth and simple as possible.

If each case can be treated differently, free vaccines can help those in need more, instead of causing low efficiency and confusion. 

All in all, the country should make sure that those who are willing to be vaccinated do not hesitate because of financial difficulties. Support from the country and enterprises should be adequate as well. People who can afford it should not be afraid of opening their wallets. Such a principle does not contradict "free vaccines." 

I am confident that the vaccination process in China will be the most orderly in the world. Vaccines acting as a public product will facilitate China's anti-virus fight. 

The author is editor-in-chief of the Global Times. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn