The state health and family welfare department has launched new pentavalent vaccine by replacing the traditional method of vaccination under the central immunisation programme at a function on Wednesday at Rajpura.
State health minister Surjit Kumar Jyani formally launched the vaccine in Punjab. The newly-launched vaccine would be available free of cost to infants within three months of their birth in all the government hospitals and dispensaries.
After launching the vaccine, the health minister said that the new vaccine will play an important role in protection against serious childhood diseases. The new pentavalent vaccine would substantially reduce the infant mortality rate in Punjab. The vaccine would protect children against diphtheria, pertussis, hepatitis B, tentanus and haemophilus influenza, said minister.
He also informed that the vaccine as one of the most cost effective public health interventions has delivered excellent results in providing direct and effective protection against preventable childhood diseases.
Every year 3.70 lakh infants in world die due to Haemophilus Influenza Type B (HiB) diseases and 20% of them are from India. He urged the people to take full advantage of the health facilities being extended by the state government so that complete health cover could be ensured to the children.
Jyani also said that with the introduction of pentavalent vaccine number of injections required for the vaccination of children at the age of 6, 10 and 14 weeks would be reduced. At present, infants receive six injections (three doses of DPT and three doses of hepatitis B) at these age intervals. But with the introduction of pentavalent vaccine, infants would now receive only three injections instead of six. This particular vaccine would cost `1,300 to the government which would be given free of cost to the children in all the government health institutions.