To increase the percentage of full immunisation in children, the health department is all set to launch pentavalent vaccine soon. The pentavalent is a vaccine which would vaccinate a child against diphtheria, tetanus, pertusis (commonly known as whooping cough), hepatitis B and haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) in a single dose.
The health department is now waiting for the supply of pentavalent vaccine from the Centre. The state officials have already started preparations for the launch of the vaccine, which is set to be introduced in the state in a month or two.
District immunisation officer, Dr Sanjeev Hans, said: “Hib vaccine, which protects a child against pneumonia, is getting introduced through pentavalent as till now four vaccines were getting administered to infants under government immunisation programme in Punjab.”
Pentavalent was introduced in national immunisation programme in 2011 after recommendations of World Health Orgainsation (WHO) and more than seven states in the country have already introduced this vaccine.
Dr Hans said Hib vaccination would prevent the children from pneumonia, which in various studies, had been attributed as one of the main causes of death in under five-year age children. Private doctors usually prescribed this injection for infants, but it had not been included in government vaccination programme so far.
Dr Rajinder Gulati, head of paediatric department, Lord Mahavira Civil Hospital, said: “The new vaccine will bring down child mortality and morbidity drastically.” As per study of a medical journal Lancet, if universal coverage of Hib vaccine was achieved then mortality and morbidity of under five-age children could be decreased 4%, Dr Gulati said.
Now, five vaccines would be injected into children only through one injection, which meant process of vaccination would be less painful for children, Dr Gulati added.
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