Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Friday launched the nationwide expansion of the Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV) and said it will help reduce childhood mortality by around 60 percent.
The Union minister also released communication and awareness packages on the vaccine which will be shared with all states and union territories.
Speaking on the occasion, he said it is for the first time in the country that the PCV will be available for universal use.
Noting that pneumonia is a leading cause of death among children under the age of five globally and in India, he said, Pneumonia caused by pneumococcus is the most common cause of severe pneumonia in children. In India, around 16 per cent of deaths in children occur due to pneumonia. The nationwide rollout of PCV will reduce child mortality by around 60 percent.
Highlighting the importance of healthy children in any country’s growth, productivity, and development, Mandaviya said, Children are the future of our country and it is our responsibility to provide them with a healthy life.
“Mission Indradhanush, which was launched by the prime minister, is one such endeavour in this regard. The vision of ‘Sabko vaccine, muft vaccine’ by the prime minister guiding the COVID-19 vaccination programme has ensured that the eligible population gets access to COVID-19 vaccines across the country, he said.
The launch of PCV will further ensure healthy growth and development of our children, apart from reducing child mortality, he said while congratulating all the immunization staff, health care workers, and the officials for their efforts in the rollout of this life-saving vaccine.
While releasing the communication package for the vaccine, Mandaviya exhorted that creating awareness regarding the vaccine is a vital component.
The objective of the vaccine is to save the lives of our children and this would be possible if we run a successful awareness campaign across the country, he said.
Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP) is one of the largest public health programmes targeting close to 26.7 million newborns and 29 million pregnant women annually, the ministry said.
One million is equal to 10 lakh.
Under UIP, immunization is being provided free of cost against 12 vaccine-preventable diseases. Nationally it is against 10 diseases – Diphtheria, Pertussis, Tetanus, Polio, Measles, Rubella, a severe form of Childhood Tuberculosis, Rotavirus diarrhea, Hepatitis B and Meningitis & Pneumonia caused by Haemophilus Influenzae type B
Sub-nationally against two diseases – Pneumococcal Pneumonia and Japanese Encephalitis; of which Pneumococcal Conjugate vaccine is nationally expanded on Friday, while JE vaccine is provided only in endemic districts, the ministry said.