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New five-in-one vaccine for 10 mn kids

Ten million children -- about 37 per cent of India’s 27 million annual births – in 10 states will start getting a five-in-one vaccine by the end of the year to protect them against five potential killer diseases, reports Sanchita Sharma.

health and fitness Updated: Aug 12, 2009 20:55 IST
Sanchita Sharma

Ten million children -- about 37 per cent of India’s 27 million annual births – in 10 states will start getting a five-in-one vaccine by the end of the year to protect them against five potential killer diseases.

The new vaccine offers protection against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), hepatitis B, and Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib), which causes some severe forms of pneumonia and meningitis.

The vaccine will be made part of the universal immunisation programme (UIP) in Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Jammu & Kashmir, Karnataka, Andhra

Immunisation in numbers


* 27 million births in India each year.

* 10 million children to get the new pentavalent vaccine.

* The Hib vaccine is the new addition -- the first in 25 years -- to the immunistaion programme. Globally, Hib kills more than 370,000 children under five every year, nearly 20 per cent – 74,000 -- of them in India.

* Protects against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), hepatitis B, and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), which causes meningitis and pneumonia.

* Will be introduced in 10 states in 2009: Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Jammu & Kashmir, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Punjab, West Bengal, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh.

* Started with a $165 million (Rs 792 crore) grant from the GAVI Alliance.

Pradesh, Punjab, West Bengal, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh before being introduced across India by 2011.

Currently, a tetravalent vaccination and hepatitis B vaccination are given under UIP. Hib vaccine is the new addition -- the first in 25 years -- to the immunistaion programe. India’s National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation recommended its introduction on June 16, 2008.

Globally, Hib kills over 3.7 lakh (370,000) children under-5 every year; with almost 20 per cent of the deaths taking place in India. Survivors often suffer permanent brain damaged or paralysis.

Children need to be vaccinated three times before they become fully immunised.

”States with high routine immunisation coverage were chosen for the new vaccine over poor-performing states to ensure more children benefit from it. We chose the states with immunisation coverage over 80 per cent,” said a union health ministry official, who did not want to named as he is not authorised to talk to the media.

The national immunisation coverage is 65 per cent.

India’s got a grant for US$ 165 million (Rs 792 crore) from the GAVI Alliance, a public-private partnership which brings together key players in immunisation such as the Indian government, the World Health Organisation, UNICEF, donors, industry and the Hib Initiative.

Globally, Hib kills more than 370,000 children under five every year, nearly 20 per cent – 74,000 -- of them in India.

Survivors are often paralysed or retarded for life. Hib vaccination prevents severe bacterial meningitis and offers protection against one third of life-threatening cases of bacterial pneumonia.

“Hib vaccine is a safe, effective intervention that has been used for nearly 20 years in developed countries and virtually eliminated Hib disease in Kenya, Uganda and Gambia,” said Dr Mathuram Santosham, executive committee member of the Hib Initiative at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

“Pentavalent vaccine is now made in India and with increasing demand, the price will fall, helping us saves thousands of lives every day,” said Dr Panna Choudhury, President, Indian Academy of Paediatrics.