Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Pentavalent vaccine in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh under the National Immunisation Programme

It is said better late than never! From this JANUARY 2015, health authorities will finally roll out
pentavalent vaccine in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh under the National Immunisation Programme. This one single vaccine shot will provide protection to infants from five life-threatening ailments, including Diphtheria, Pertussis, Tetanus (DPT), Hepatitis B and Hib (Haemophilus influenza type b).
While paediatricians have for long been prescribing pentavalent vaccines in their private practice, introduction of the same in the National Immunisation Programme has paved way for widespread coverage of infants in the two States. “Pentavalent vaccine is a long-felt need and a great boon for children. To be honest, they should have introduced this vaccine long back. There are other vaccines too like the Rota vaccine which needs to be introduced in India on a large scale. Close to one lakh infants below one year of age die every year due to diarrhoea and vaccines are must to save them,” says senior paediatrician and former superintendent, Niloufer Hospital, P. Sudarshan Reddy.
Since 2011, the Union Government introduced pentavalent vaccine in a phased manner in Kerala, Karnataka, Pondicherry, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Jammu & Kashmir and Delhi. Recently, the Union Government decided to scale-up administration of the pentavalent vaccine throughout the country from October. Officials also pointed out that Rota vaccine for severe diarrhoea is also expected to be introduced in the Universal Immunisation Programme in a phased manner by this year alone.
“There should be no second thoughts at all about pentavalent vaccines. In the present immunisation programme, multiple visits are involved as vaccines for DPT, Hepatitis B and Hib are different. Now, however, the number of visits for mother and infant for vaccination will come down and there will be little chances of default,” says HOD, Paediatrics, Gandhi Hospital, J. Venkateshwar Rao.
Senior paediatricians also pointed out that the government should seriously think about introducing MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella), Typhoid and Rota virus vaccine. “These vaccines are universal and are already being prescribed by doctors in their private practice. There should be no hesitation to introduce them in the Universal Immunisation Programme,” says professor, Paediatrics, Gandhi Hospital, M.V. Murali.

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