Rotavirus vaccine to be available for free in state from February | punjab$regional-takes | Hindustan Times
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Rotavirus vaccine to be available for free in state from February

The rotavirus vaccine is likely to be introduced in Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Odisha under the Centre-sponsored Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP) by February.

punjab Updated: Jan 05, 2016 22:50 IST
HT Correspondent
Rotavirus-induced diarrhoea accounts for 40% of hospitalisations among children.
Rotavirus-induced diarrhoea accounts for 40% of hospitalisations among children. (HT Photo)

The rotavirus vaccine is likely to be introduced in Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Odisha under the Centre-sponsored Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP) by February.

Dr Pradeep Haldar, deputy commissioner, immunisation, Union health ministry, made this announcement on the sidelines of a two-day workshop on the introduction of rotavirus vaccine on Tuesday.

Haryana additional chief secretary, health, PK Mahapatra said the vaccine was earlier available at exorbitant rates in the open market, thus making it unaffordable for a large section of society.

He said introducing the vaccine under the UIP would ensure equitable access to protection from rotavirus-induced diarrhoea in children.

Mahapatra said diarrhoea can turn serious with high chance of dehydration and death if not treated adequately in underfed children. Rotavirus-induced diarrhoea accounts for 40% of hospitalisations among children. He said that about 50% of the rotavirus-associated deaths occur in the first year while 75% are within first two years.

National Health Mission director Amit Kumar Aggarwal said: “Diarrhoea is a major cause of infant mortality in Haryana and introduction of the vaccine under the central scheme is of critical importance to the state.”

Aggarwal said that under the UIP, the vaccine would be available at all government health facilities for free and would be administered to children at six, 10 and 14 weeks of age. “The vaccine is available in the private sector at about Rs 3000 for a full course,” he said.

District immunisation officers and child health and immunisation urban nodal officers were also present at the workshop.

1.2 lakh deaths every year

Rotavirus is a highly contagious virus causing diarrhoea among children, often leading to hospitalisation and mortality. Its transmission occurs primarily by the faecal-oral route directly from person to person. Rotavirus is responsible for about 40% of moderate to severe diarrhoea in children below five years of age, resulting in over 1.2 lakh deaths and about 4.5 lakh hospitalisations annually in the country.