Punjab health minister Surjit Kumar Jyani has directed civil surgeons to ensure all possible safety measures while administering the Pentavalent (five in one) vaccine to infants.
In a statement on Tuesday, the minister told health officials to check the expiry date and other details of the stock lying with the department. He added that the state government had launched the Pentavalent vaccine, which was being administered free of cost to infants within three months of their birth in all government hospitals and dispensaries.
He stated that under the Universal Immunisation Programme of the central government, the vaccine had played a key role in protection against dangerous childhood diseases. The vaccine, he said, would substantially reduce infant and child (under five years) mortality rate in Punjab, protecting children from diphtheria, pertussis, hepatitis B, tetanus and haemophilus influenza B.
Jyani termed the vaccine as one of the most cost-effective public health interventions which had delivered excellent results in providing direct and effective protection against preventable childhood diseases such as measles, hepatitis B, diphtheria, poliomyelitis, tetanus and pertussis.
He asked the civil surgeons to maintain the cold chain at a specific temperature required for storing medicines, especially vaccines. Jyani appealed to the people of the state not to buy the vaccine from medical stores as Punjab was getting direct supply from the Centre.
Punjab’s move follows last week’s incident in which a two-month-old child died two days after being administered the five-in-one vaccine at the Advanced Paediatrics Centre of the Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh.