Economy

Rotavirus vaccine launched as part of Universal Immunisation Programme

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on January 20, 2018 Published on March 26, 2016

4 States to avail in first phase

The Centre on Saturday introduced an indigenous Rotavirus vaccine in the Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP) of the country, terming it a “historic moment” in India’s immunisation programme. The vaccine, expected to reduce child deaths due to diarrhoea, is initially being introduced in four States -- Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Odisha, ​according to ​an official statement.

“We have achieved a new milestone towards expanding the coverage of full immunisation in the country aimed at reducing child mortality,” said J P Nadda, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, at the national launch of the vaccine in Odisha to prevent diarrhoea and death among children less than five years of age.

Rotavirus claims nearly 80,000 to one lakh children’s lives every year in the country, and about nine lakh children are hospitalised due to episodes of severe diarrhoea with 32.7 lakh out-patient cases, said Nadda, adding that the vaccine will be expanded to the entire country in a phased manner.

The vaccine has been developed indigenously, under a public-private partnership by the Ministry of Science, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, institutions of the US and Indian government​s​ and Bharat Biotech. The initiative has been supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

In his address at the introduction of the vaccine in the UIP, Nadda said India ​has one of the largest immunisation programmes in the world and the Centre aims to give maximum protection to children against Vaccine Preventable Diseases (VPDs) under ‘Mission Indradhanush’, which was launched in December 2014 to fully immunise over 89 lakh children who are either not vaccinated or are partially vaccinated.

Nadda said four new vaccines are being introduced as part of UIP, including Inactivated Polio Vaccine, Rotavirus vaccine, Measles, Rubella vaccine, and Adult Japanese Encephalitis vaccine.

“With these new vaccines, India’s UIP will provide free vaccines against 12 life threatening diseases, to 27 million children annually, the largest birth cohort in the world,” he added. IPV has been introduced in six States from November 30, 2015 for provide double protection against polio.

Published on March 26, 2016
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