Two new vaccines in immunisation programme

India is set to expand its immunisation programme with the introduction of at least two new vaccines in the next year and tripling of ministerial budget.

The first one would be an Indian rota virus vaccine against a lethal form of diarrhoea that kills close to 80,000 Indian children each year. This would be rolled out in Odisha, Himachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Haryana around February-March, 2016.

Few months down the line, a rubella vaccine would be introduced in the universal immunisation programme to prevent birth of almost 30,000 kids with congenital rubella syndrome every year. CRS is a cause of preventable morbidity, including childhood blindness and deafness, which in turn has life-long special health and social needs.

“Currently, our immunisation budget is Rs 600 crore, which would go up to Rs 1,800 crore next year,” said C K Mishra, additional secretary in the Health Ministry.

The rota virus vaccine would be supplied by Indian manufacturer Bharat Biotech, which has made the vaccine available at one-fifth of the cost of same vaccine made by foreign companies.

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