4 new vaccines added to India’s Universal Immunization Programme (UIP)
As per an announcement made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Government of India plans to introduce four new vaccines as part of India’s Universal Immunization Programme (UIP).
The vaccines will be against Rotavirus, Rubella and Polio (injectable) which will speed up India’s progress on meeting the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) four targets to bring down child mortality by 2/3rd by the year 2015 and meet global polio eradication targets.
Besides this, an adult vaccine against Japanese encephalitis will be introduced in districts with high prevalence of the disease. The step will prevent at least one lakh infant deaths, deaths of adults in working age group and up to 10 lakhs hospitalizations each year. With the addition of new vaccines, India’s UIP will now provide free vaccines against 13 fatal diseases to 27 million children annually, the largest birth cohort in the world.
Rotavirus causes diarrhea which kills 80 thousand children each year, results in up to 10 lakh hospitalizations, pushing many Indian families below the poverty line. It also inflicts an economic load of over Rs 300 crore each year to the country. The rotavirus vaccine which India will introduce in a phased manner is first indigenously developed rotavirus vaccine, developed under a public-private partnership by the Ministry of Science and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
India’s UIP will also introduce a vaccine against Rubella which causes severe congenital defects in newborns, like blindness, deafness and heart defects. As per estimates nearly 2 lakh babies are born with congenital defects each year in the country.
An adult vaccine against Japanese Encephalitis (JE) in 179 endemic districts in 9 states will also be introduced under UIP.
India is committed to the global goal of a polio free world. To meet this goal, India has planned to introduce Injectable Polio Vaccine (IPV) in sync with 125 countries. In March 2013, India was certified polio free. The introduction IPV in addition to the Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) will provide enduring protection to the population against polio virus.