4 new vaccines for immunisation scheme to cost ₹3,500 cr more

Aesha Datta New Delhi | Updated on July 11, 2014 Published on July 11, 2014

Additional ₹1,000 cr goes into Pulse Polio campaign

The Government’s outgo on its vaccination scheme is likely to go up by as much as three times, with the introduction of four new vaccines in the Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP), said Ajay Khera, Deputy Commissioner, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

Currently, routine immunisation requires about ₹1,000 crore annually, and with the introduction of four vaccines into the UIP — rotavirus, rubella and polio (injectable) and an adult vaccine against Japanese encephalitis — will require an additional ₹3,500 crore, Khera told BusinessLine.

However, this additional cost would mean cost-saving in the long-term in healthcare expenditure. For example, about 80,000 children die from rotavirus infection, which causes severe diarrhoea among young children, every year, besides over 8 lakh hospitalisations. This can be prevented by large-scale Pulse Polio-like vaccination scheme in the country.

An additional ₹1,000 crore also goes into the Pulse Polio campaign. However, the Pulse Polio campaign would be phased out gradually, since the country has received polio-free status. India is now introducing injectable polio vaccine (IPV) into the UIP as a risk-mitigation effort to prevent re-infection.

Khera said the country is likely to start the IPV regime by the third quarter of this fiscal. By mid-2016 the country would be able to shift entirely to IPV.

Cold chain capacity

The Ministry has already started preparing to introduce four new vaccines, which would require at least six months since this would be on a large scale.

For this purpose, the Government would have to review cold chain capacity across the country, since these vaccines would need to be stored in cold chains to retain efficacy, besides sensitising and preparing healthcare workers in anganwadis, establishing new operating guidelines and mobilising communities to raise awareness about these new vaccines.

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Published on July 11, 2014
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