Immunisation drives will be conducted in the state through single-use syringes from the next fiscal to allay fear of contracting an infection from unsafe recycled disposable ones.
Vaccines will be administered through auto-disable syringes with an internal mechanism that blocks the injection’s plunger after one use, health officials said on Wednesday.
Auto-disable injections will be deployed initially on a mass scale by the National Health Mission (NHM) in Jharkhand to administer inactivated poliovirus vaccines (IPVs) to more than 50 lakh children, below five years, under the pulse polio programme.
“The procurement of IPVs is under process. Once completed, we will launch auto-disable syringes and IPVs in Jharkhand,” said Dr Praveen Chandra, director-in-chief of state health services. He said the Centre would supply the safety syringes to the state.
Health officials said IPVs would be given to children as a third dose after the two oral drops under the polio-eradication programme. IPVs trigger a protective immune response against polio type 1 and 3 viruses, helping the child’s body fight the disease more quickly.
“IPV programme will be launched in the state tentatively by next month (April). Auto-disable syringes will cut out the risk of syringes being reused,” said Dr Ajit Prasad, deputy director of NHM (routine immunisation).
Chandra said, “The syringes now being used have to be destroyed manually; instantly the needle has to be destroyed in a syringe crusher.”
The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimated in 2013 that two-thirds of 600 crore injections used in India every year are unsafe and their reuse risks spread of Hepatitis B and also HIV. The WHO lists three models of single-use syringes to stop reuse.
Jharkhand has been using the most common model where a clip locks the plunger in the barrel. The other models are: the weak point of the plunger breaks if one tries to pull it back for a second use, and in the other, the needle itself retracts into the barrel .
IPVs will be given initially only at health centres and not in door-to-door campaigns conducted for giving oral drops, Prasad said. IPVs will also be administered under Mission Indradhanush to get maximum coverage under the polio-eradication programme, said health officials.
Each year the state targets around 8.2 lakh newborns under the pulse polio programme and till date it has achieved more than 85% immunisation rates.