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Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine

  • 26 Aug 2021
  • 4 min read

Why in News

Recently, the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh has launched Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV) immunisation drive for infants.

  • Earlier in December 2020, India’s first fully indigenously developed pneumococcal conjugate vaccine “Pneumosil” was launched.

Key Points

  • About:
    • It prevents pneumococcal disease. It can protect both children and adults from pneumococcal disease.
    • The vaccine is a mix of several bacteria of the pneumococci family, which are known to cause pneumonia—hence ‘conjugate’ is included in the name of the vaccine.
  • Pneumococcal disease:
    • About:
      • Pneumococcal disease is a name for any infection caused by bacteria called Streptococcus pneumoniae or pneumococcus. Most people carry pneumococcus in their nose and throat, where the bacteria do not cause any symptoms.
      • However, sometimes the bacteria grow and spread to other parts of the body and that’s when people become sick.
    • Effects:
      • 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.
      • Besides pneumonia, pneumococcal bacteria can also cause:
        • Ear infections.
        • Sinus infections.
        • Meningitis (infection of the tissue covering the brain and spinal cord).
        • Bacteremia (infection of the blood).
      • Doctors consider some of these infections “invasive”. Invasive disease means that germs invade parts of the body that are normally free from germ.
    • Vulnerable Population:
      • Anyone can get pneumococcal disease, but children under 2 years of age, people with certain medical conditions, adults 65 years or older, and cigarette smokers are at the highest risk.
  • Need:
    • Pneumonia had been a major cause of infant and child mortality. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), pneumonia accounts for 15% of all deaths of children under 5 years.
    • It was estimated that the disease affected around 16 lakh children and caused the death of nearly 68,700 children across the country in the year 2015.
    • Sustainable Development Goal 3 calls for an end to preventable deaths of newborns and children under 5 years of age. It also specifies that all countries should aim to reduce neonatal mortality to at least as low as 12 deaths per 1,000 live births and under-five mortality to at least as low as 25 deaths per 1,000 live births by 2030.
      • Neonatal mortality is defined as death within the first 28 days of life.

Universal Immunization Programme

  • It was launched in 1985 to prevent mortality and morbidity in children and pregnant women against 12 vaccine-preventable diseases.
  • Under UIP, free of cost vaccination is provided against twelve vaccine-preventable diseases i.e. Tuberculosis, Diphtheria, Pertussis, Tetanus, Polio, Hepatitis B, Pneumonia and Meningitis due to Haemophilus Influenzae type b (Hib), Measles, Rubella, Japanese Encephalitis (JE) and Rotavirus diarrhoea.
  • The programme is one of the largest health programmes in the world. Despite being operational for many years, UIP has been able to fully immunize only 65% of children under 1 year of age.

Source: TH

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