Union Health Minister J P Nadda today rolled out here the nation-wide rotavirus vaccine programme which aims to immunise 27 million children across the country. The vaccine has been developed indigenously in a public-private partnership by the ministries of Science and Health and Family Welfare under ‘Make in India’ initiative and is a landmark achievement, Nadda said after the launch.
Stating that the vaccine launch sets a goal in the field of public health, he said “By this we are taking a pledge to give this vaccine to 27 million children throughout the length and the breadth of the country.”
Rotavirus is one of the leading causes of severe diarrhoea and death among children less than five years of age, Nadda said adding that introduction of the vaccine will provide the opportunity to directly address the problem of diarrheal deaths.
“We all know that approximately 80,000 children die annually because of rotavirus and approximately 10 lakh children suffering from it are hospitalised yearly. It is very fatal and the time span to take care is very less.
The vaccine is being introduced initially in Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Odisha and will be expanded to the rest of the country in a phased manner, he said.
In addition, four new vaccines are being introduced as part of UIP (univeral immunisation programme). They are Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV), Rotavirus vaccine, Measles, Rubella vaccine, and Adult Japanese Encephalitis vaccine.
With these new vaccines, India’s UIP will provide free vaccines against 12 life threatening diseases to 27 million children annually, the largest birth cohort in the world, he said.
IPV has been introduced in six states from November 30, 2015 to provide double protection against polio, he added. Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, who was present at the prgramme said the introduction of the new vaccine would help alleviate health problems created by rotavirus in Odisha during monsoon.
Odisha’s health and family welfare minister Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak and Health and Family Welfare Secretary B P Sharma were present at the programme.