Pneumococcal vaccine

WHO prequalifies Serum’s low-cost pneumococcal vaccine

Introduction:

The pneumococcal vaccine developed by the Pune-based Serum Institute of India has been pre-qualified by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Status of pneumonia:

  • According to a UNICEF report, pneumonia caused 1,27,000 deaths in India in 2018, the second-highest number of child mortality under the age of five in the world.
  • Pneumonia and diarrhoea cause the most deaths in children under five years.

Pneumococcal vaccine:

  • The pneumococcal vaccine PNEUMOSIL is a conjugate vaccine to help produce stronger immune response to a weak antigen.
  • Serum Institute had optimised an efficient conjugate vaccine manufacturing processes for its meningitis A vaccine (MenAfriVac), which was used for manufacturing the pneumococcal vaccine.
  • This is easily affordable by low- and middle-income countries and is 30% cheaper than the vaccine present in the market.
  • In 2017, the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine was included in the under India’s Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP).
  • It has been introduced in a phased manner starting with Himachal Pradesh, parts of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. A vaccine manufactured by a multinational company is being used for immunisation.
  • The efficacy of the Serum vaccine was tested against an already approved pneumococcal vaccine (Synflorix).

About pneumonia serotypes:

  • There are about 90 serotypes of pneumonia-causing bacteria (Streptococcus pneumonia).  The 10 serotypes that are widely prevalent and responsible for causing pneumonia in Latin America, Africa and Asia.
  • Compared with the existing 10-valent vaccine, Serum’s vaccine contains two serotypes that are present in the 13-valent pneumococcal vaccine.

Know about the Universal Immunisation Programme:

  • Immunization Programme in India was announced in 1978 as ‘Expanded Programme of Immunization’ (EPI) through the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India.
  • In 1985, the programme was changed as ‘Universal Immunization Programme’ (UIP) to be executed in a phased manner to cover all districts in the state by 1989-90 with one of the major health programmes in the world.
  •  UIP become a part of the Child Survival and Safe Motherhood Programme in 1992. Since 1997, immunization activities have been an important element of the National Reproductive and Child Health Programme and is presently one of the important areas under the National Health Mission (NHM) since 2005. 
  • Despite being operative for many years, UIP has been able to fully immunize only 65% of children in the first year of their life.

Mission Indradhanush:

  • The goal of Mission Indradhanush is to ensure full immunization with all available vaccines for children up to two years of age and pregnant women. It was launched by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
  • To further cover the immunization Intensified Mission Indradhanush 2.0 is launched from December 2019 to March 2020. It will focus on left-outs, dropouts, and resistant families and hard to reach areas.

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