Centre to introduce pneumonia vaccine in State

Centre to introduce pneumonia vaccine in State

With financial support from the Global Alliance for Vaccine and Immunisation, the Centre will inoculate kids against a bug known as Haemophilus influenza type-B (Hib), which is one of the deadliest bacteria causing pneumonia in children.

Every year, pneumonia kills as many as 4,00,000 children under five years, one fourth of which (approximately 50,000) are killed by the Hib.

“After 10 years of persuasion, a Hib vaccine will be included in the routine immunisation. It will be a combination vaccine which is effective against DPT and Hepatitis-B as well,” Panna Choudhury, president of Indian Academy of Paediatrics told Deccan Herald.

Other states where the vaccine will be introduced are Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, West Bengal and Maharashtra.

Costing about Rs 150 per shot, every child will be given the shot after 6, 10, and 14 weeks respectively. Each kid will need three doses plus one booster dose for DPT.

Selection criteria

These states were chosen because their routine immunisation coverage is more than 80 per cent. Also, hepatitis-B vaccination programme was going on in these states, Choudhury said on the sidelines of a function to mark the first World Pneumonia Day on Monday.

Pneumonia causes more child deaths than any other illness. One in every five child deaths in the world occur due to pneumonia, while in India it is the number one cause of child mortality. However, even if a partial solution on Hib materialises in some states, the Centre is yet to take a decision on another microbe called Pneumococcus causing the disease.