Vaccine delay may hit anti-JE drive
DELAY in arrival of vaccine consignment from China might derail the immunisation programme in Japanese Encephalitis-endemic districts of the State.
To counter the disease, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare had decided to import a single-dose tissue culture Chinese vaccine called ‘SA14-14-2’. This year, the Central Government has marked 11 districts of the country, including Gorakhpur, Deoria. Kushinagar, Maharajganj and Kheri in UP, for the immunisation drive.
The State Government was directed to launch the immunisation programme on April 23. But, delay in supply of the vaccine has upset the schedule somewhat. A Health Department official said the consignment was expected to arrive from China on April 25.
“We will launch the immunisation drive from the first week of May,” he said.
In the first phase, 60 lakh children in the age group of 1 to 15 years residing in Gorakhpur, Kushinagar, Deoria, Maharajganj and Lakhmipur Kheri will be immunised. The Central Government has assured the State Government that 66 lakh doses of ‘SA14-14-2’ vaccine will be supplied for the immunisation drive.
Last year, Japanese Encephalitis infected over 5,000 children and 1500 died.
The survivors suffered various types of physical disabilities. The State Government urged the Central Government to supply the vaccine to save the lives of children. But, only four lakh traditional vaccines derived from mouse brain were available with the Central Research Institute (CRI), Kasauli, in Himachal Pradesh.
“We have urged the Central Government to withdraw the consignment of mouse brain vaccine and supply the tissue culture vaccine‘SA14-14-2’. The use of two types of vaccine might create confusion and resentment among the public,” an officer said.
The tissue culture vaccine is a single-dose one, while the mouse culture vaccine requires three shots for immunisation. Officials said the Chinese vaccine was tried in Nepal in 1999 with 90 per cent success rate. Meanwhile, principal secretary, Medical Health, Neeta Chaudhary urged the Central Government to supply 22 lakh extra doses of vaccine for immunisation of children in Basti, Siddharthnagar and Sant Kabirnagar districts.