Addressing Vaccine Hesitancy in China: A Scoping Review of Chinese Scholarship

Ronghui Yang*, Bart Penders, Klasien Horstman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal(Systematic) Review article peer-review


Despite the well-developed Chinese National Immunization Program, vaccine hesitancy in China is rising. As part of the response, Chinese scholars have studied determinants and proposed solutions to vaccination hesitancy. We performed a scoping review of Chinese literature (2007-2019), drawn from four Chinese databases. We mapped relevant information and presented a systemic account of the proposed determinants and responses to vaccine hesitancy in China. We identified 77 relevant studies that reveal four approaches to vaccine hesitancy. Most Chinese studies define vaccine hesitancy as a problem of vaccine safety and vaccine incident response and place accountability on the level of governance, such as regulation deficits and inappropriate crisis management. A first minority of studies tied vaccination hesitancy to unprofessional medical conduct and called for additional resources and enhanced physician qualifications. A second minority of studies positioned vaccination hesitancy as a problem of parental belief and pointed to the role of media, proposing enhanced communication and education. Chinese literature ties vaccine hesitancy primarily to vaccine safety and medical conduct. Compared to international research, parental concerns are underrepresented. The Chinese context of vaccination scandals notably frames the discussion of vaccination hesitancy and potential solutions, which stresses the importance of considering vaccination hesitancy in specific social and political contexts.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2
Number of pages17
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020


  • China
  • governance
  • vaccination hesitancy
  • vaccine safety

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