Under the Universal Immunization Programme (UIP), the state health department is set to launch the five-in-one Pentavalent vaccine for infants, administered to deal with diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, hepatitis-B and hib, from September onwards.
The state had made a request to the Centre in February for the launch of the vaccine in the state and after assurance from the Centre, the health department held several meetings and seminars with its doctors and immunisation staff for its successful start.
It is a new addition to the routine immunisation programme in the state and will be administered to children aged six, 10 and 14 weeks as well as replace the existing DPT (diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus) and Hepatitis B vaccines, which are the primary doses administered at the same age.
A senior official of the health department said state-level workshops have been organised for concerned officials to inform them about the vaccine’s various aspects and build their skills regarding its usage and potential. “At present, different vaccines are given for providing protection against these five deadly childhood diseases which lead to many management issues and complications for the health department,” he said.
He further said after the launch of this vaccine, the biggest advantage would be that dosage for these childhood infections would be reduced to three from nine. At present, there were three dosages each of DPT, Hepatitis B and Hib.
The vaccine will be provided free of cost at all government hospitals under UIP. The state health director, Karanjit Singh said they had prepared for the launch of the vaccine and were just waiting for the supply from the Centre.
He hoped that the vaccine would be included in the immunisation drive from September onwards.