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 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.