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Nationwide Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine Drive

  • 30 Oct 2021
  • 4 min read

Why in News

Recently, the Union Health Minister has launched a nationwide expansion of Pneumococcal 13-valent Conjugate Vaccine (PCV) with an aim to reduce under 5 mortalities caused due to pneumonia.

Key Points

  • Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV):
    • A Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine containing 13 different strains of the bacterium Streptococcus pneumoniae, used in children and studied in patients with impaird immune system for the prevention of pneumococcal disease.
      • Conjugate vaccines are made using a combination of two different components.
  • Pneumococcal Disease:
    • About: It is a bacterial infection caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae, sometimes known as pneumococcus.
    • Symptoms: These bacteria can cause many types of illnesses, including pneumonia, which is an infection of the lungs. Pneumococcal bacteria are one of the most common causes of pneumonia.
    • Vulnerable Population: Children under 2 years of age, people with certain medical conditions, adults 65 years or older, and cigarette smokers are at the highest risk.
    • Status in India: In India, around 16% of deaths among children occur due to pneumonia.
      • Pneumonia is contagious and can be spread through coughing or sneezing. It can also be spread through fluids, like blood during childbirth, or from contaminated surfaces.
  • Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP):
    • Launch:
      • The Immunization Programme in India was introduced in 1978 as ‘Expanded Programme of Immunization (EPI) by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
      • In 1985, the Programme was modified as ‘Universal Immunization Programme (UIP)’.
    • Objectives of the Programme:
      • Rapidly increasing immunization coverage,
      • Improving the quality of services,
      • Establishing a reliable cold chain system to the health facility level,
      • Introducing a district-wise system for monitoring of performance, and
      • Achieving self-sufficiency in vaccine production.
    • Features:
      • UIP prevents mortality and morbidity in children and pregnant women against 12 vaccine-preventable diseases. But in the past, it was seen that the increase in immunization coverage had slowed down and it increased at the rate of 1% per year between 2009 and 2013.
        • Nationally against 10 diseases - Diphtheria, Pertussis, Tetanus, Polio, Measles, Rubella, severe form of Childhood Tuberculosis, Rotavirus diarrhea, Hepatitis B and Meningitis & Pneumonia caused by Haemophilus Influenzae type B.
        • Sub-nationally against 2 diseases - Pneumococcal Pneumonia and Japanese Encephalitis; of which Pneumococcal Conjugate vaccine has been nationally expanded, while JE vaccine is provided only in endemic districts.
      • To accelerate the coverage, Mission Indradhanush was envisaged and implemented since 2015 to rapidly increase the full immunization coverage to 90%.
      • Recently, the Intensified Mission Indradhanush (IMI) 3.0 scheme has been rolled out to cover children and pregnant women who missed routine immunisation during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Source: TH

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