Universal Immunization Programme Current Affairs - 2019

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ROTAVAC Vaccine to be expand to entire country

Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has decided to expand Rotavirus vaccine to the entire country from September 2019. It will provide Rotavirus vaccine to every child across all 36 states/UTs by September, 2019. This decision was taken as per an ambitious plan of Health Ministry under the 100-days agenda of the newly elected government.

Background

Out of all the causes of diarrhoea in India, rotavirus is a leading cause of diarrhoea in children less than 5 years of age. In India, every year there are 37 diarrheal deaths out of every 1000 children. It is estimated that rotavirus cause around 8 lakh hospitalizations; 32 lakh outpatient visits and estimated 78 thousand deaths annually in India.

Rotavirus diarrhoea presents in similar manner like any other diarrhoea but can easily prevented through rotavirus vaccination. Other diarrhoea can be prevented through general measures such as safe water and safe food consumption, good hygiene, frequent hand washing, exclusive breastfeeding as well as vitamin A supplementation.

About Rotavac

It is India’s first indigenously developed vaccine for rotavirus infections. It has been developed by the Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech Limited.

It was introduced in 2016 in phased manner, beginning with 4 states initially. At present, Rotavirus vaccine is now available in 28 States/UTs.

It was included in Universal Immunization Programme (UIP) based on recommendation of expert committee National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI).

UIP: 3 doses of rotavirus vaccine are provided along with other vaccines, free of cost under UIP at one and half month, two and half moth, and three and half month of age of child.

WHO Pre-qualification: In January 2018, World Health Organisation (WHO) had prequalified Rotavac vaccine i.e. it can be sold internationally to several countries in Africa and South America.

Gagandeep Kang: She had played key role development of Rotavac and for this she awarded Fellowship of the Royal Society (FRS), United Kingdom in April 2019, making her first Indian woman to be awarded this highest scientific recognition.

India remains polio free, all vaccines used in Government immunisation programme safe: UNICEF, WHO

United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and World Health Organization (WHO) have reiterated India’s status as polio-free country. This comes in backdrop of some oral polio vaccine vials being found contaminated with the type-2 polio virus.

Key Facts

The two global agencies held that risk of children getting vaccine derived poliovirus was minimal in India because of high routine immunisation coverage in the country. They also asserted that all vaccines provided under Universal Immunization Programme (UIP) are safe and urged people to get their children vaccinated not only for their protection but also to keep Indian polio free.

Type 2 poliovirus containing vaccine has been phased out globally, and in India, in April 2016, as a part of the polio endgame strategy. Like in other countries, India also has replaced trivalent OPV oral polio vaccine (tOPV) with bivalent OPV (bOPV) in all polio campaigns and routine immunization. It also continues to conduct mass vaccination campaigns against polio, using bivalent oral polio vaccine (bOPV), to maintain high immunity.

Background

India was certified polio-free in March 2014 and it still continues to remain vigilant against all three types of polioviruses. The last polio case due to wild poliovirus in the country was detected on 13 January 2011. Recently, type 2 polio vaccine virus was found in some sewage and stool samples. It was from few vials of bOPV supplied by one manufacturer in India which were found to contain traces of Type 2 polio vaccine virus. After that Health Ministry had taken immediate and decisive action withdrawing vaccine supplied by this manufacturer from all states that it was supplied to.

Polio

Polio (Poliomyelitis) is a highly infectious viral disease, which mainly affects young children below age of 5. It is transmitted from person-to-person. It mainly spreads through faecal-oral route (e.g. contaminated water or food). After entering body, it multiplies in the intestine, from where it can invade the nervous system and can cause paralysis. Its initial symptoms include fever, fatigue, headache, vomiting, stiffness in the neck, and pain in limbs. In some cases, it causes permanent paralysis. There is no cure for polio, it can only be prevented by immunization.