Universal Immunisation Programme Current Affairs

New Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine against Pneumonia Launched

Minister for Health and Family Welfare J P Nadda has launched new Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine, PCV, for Pneumonia at Lal Bahadur Shastri Medical College Hospital in Mandi district of Himachal Pradesh. The vaccine is a part of government’s Universal Immunization Programme (UIP). Henceforth, the vaccine will be administered under routine immunization programme. The vaccine would help in controlling pneumonia and reducing the child mortality rate. In India, more than 1 lakh children die of pneumonia every year.

The vaccine will provide protection against 13 types of pneumococcal bacteria which results in pneumonia. This is the twelfth disease for which the Health Ministry has launched a vaccine. The vaccine Pneumococcal Conjugate protects against Streptococcus pneumonia and diseases such as pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections and meningitis. PCV was first introduced in 2000.

The whole of Himachal Pradesh as well as six districts of Uttar Pradesh and seventeen districts of Bihar will be covered under the first phase of the immunisation programme.

Pneumonia

Pneumonia is caused by inflammation of the airspaces in the lungs. It is most commonly due to an infection. It is a leading cause of death for children under the age of five years around the world. It may be caused by bacteria, viruses or fungi. The most common bacterial type that causes pneumonia is Streptococcus pneumoniae. Signs and symptoms include fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, and fatigue.

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Government announces expansion of rotavirus vaccine in 5 states

The Union Government has announced the expansion of rotavirus vaccine in five additional states under Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP). They are Assam, Tripura, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu.

The announcement comes after 38 lakh children were vaccinated when the vaccine was first introduced in four states – Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Odisha. 

Key Facts
  • The rotavirus is one of the most common causes of severe diarrhoea in children less than 2 years of age. It is one of the biggest killers in children in India.
  • It is responsible for nearly 78,000 deaths, 32 lakh out-patient visits and nearly 9 lakh hospitalizations every year.
  • The vaccine will prevent Rotavirus diarrhoea in children which accounts for approximately 40% of hospitalizations from diarrhoea in India.
  • Rotavirus vaccine supplemented by proper sanitation, hand washing practices, ORS and zinc supplementation will go a long way in reducing the mortality and morbidity due to diarrhoea in children.

About Rotavirus

  • The Rotavirus is a genus of double-stranded RNA virus in the family Reoviridae.
  • It most common causative agent of moderate-to-severe diarrhoea (MSD) among infants below 11 months age group and death among children less than five years of age.
  • Transmission: The virus spreads from person to person due to bacterial and parasiting agents that are primarily transmitted through contaminated food or water.
  • Impact on Health: It causes gastroenteritis after it damages the cells that line the small intestine and causes gastroenteritis. In some cases in causes malnutrition, delayed physical and mental development among children.

About Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP)

The UIP provide free of cost vaccines to all children across the country to protect them against 11 life threatening diseases. These 11 diseases are Tuberculosis, Pertussis, Diphtheria, Tetanus, Hepatitis B, Polio, Pneumonia and Meningitis due to Haemophilus Influenzae type b (Hib), Measles, Rubella, Rotavirus diarrhoea and Japanese Encephalitis (JE). (Rubella, JE and Rotavirus vaccine are given in select states and districts). It is the largest birth cohort in the world vaccinating around 26 million children annually.

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