Union Government on 3 July 2014 introduced four new vaccines as part of India’s Universal Immunization Programme (UIP). These include vaccines against rotavirus, rubella and polio (injectable), along with an adult vaccine against Japanese encephalitis. The adult vaccine against Japanese encephalitis will be introduced in districts with high levels of the disease (in 179 endemic districts in 9 states).
The aim of introduction of these lifesaving vaccines is to ensure that the benefits of vaccination reach to all sections of the society, regardless of social and economic status. Till now these are available through private practitioners to only those, who can afford them.
The decision to introduce new vaccines was announced by Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India after accepting the recommendations made by the National Technical Advisory Group of India (NTAGI). NTAGI, the country’s apex scientific advisory body on immunization recommended the introduction of the new vaccines after numerous scientific studies and comprehensive deliberations.
Importance and impact of these vaccines
• These vaccines will collectively expedite India’s progress on meeting the Millennium Development Goal 4 targets to reduce child mortality by two-thirds by the year 2015 and meet global polio eradication targets
• The recent introduction of the pentavalent vaccine will help in preventing at least 1 lakh infant deaths, deaths of adult in working age group and up to 10 lakhs hospitalization each year
With introduction of these new vaccines, India’s UIP will now provide free vaccines against 13 life threatening diseases to 27 million children annually, the largest birth cohort in the world.
The rotavirus vaccine is an indigenous vaccine of India that has been developed under a public-private partnership by the Union Ministry of Science and the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. This vaccine will be introduced in a phased manner.
Universal Immunization Programme (UIP)
Universal Immunization Programme is a vaccination program of the Government of India and was launched in 1985. It became a part of Child Survival and Safe Motherhood Programme in 1992 and is currently one of the key areas under National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) since 2005.
Evolution of the programme
1978: Expanded Programme of immunization (EPI) and it had a limited reach-mostly urban
1985: Universal Immunization Programme (UIP)
• For reduction of mortality and morbidity due to 6 VPD’s
• Indigenous vaccine production capacity enhanced
• Cold chain established
• Phased implementation-all districts covered by 1989-90
• Monitoring and evaluation system implemented
1986: Technology Mission on Immunization
• Monitoring under PMO’s 20 point programme
• Coverage in infants (0–12 months) monitored
1992: Child Survival and Safe Motherhood (CSSM)
• Included both UIP and Safe motherhood program
1997: Reproductive Child Health (RCH 1)
2005: National Rural Health Mission (NRHM)
Where: across India
When: on 3 July 2014