UP introduces Rotavirus vaccine; to save 57 lakh children

The vaccine was first introduced in India in the routine immunization programme in 2016 in Odisha and subsequently expanded to the other nine states.

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Lucknow: The Uttar Pradesh government today launched the ‘Rotavirus’ vaccine to bring down the infant mortality rate in the state, becoming the 11th state in the country introduce the vaccine in the country.

The vaccine, unvieled by state women and child minister Rita Bahuguna Joshi, will porotect 57 lakh children from diarrhoea in the state, an official statement said.

All newborns will have to be administered with the Rotavirus vaccine in a 3-dose schedule at 6, 10 and 14 weeks along with 5 drops of pentavalent 1, 2 and 3 vaccine.

With this launch, Uttar Pradesh becomes the 11th state in the country to introduce Rotavirus vaccine as part of the routine immunization programme, ensuring complete prevention from Rotavirus.

“Rotavirus can cause extreme Diarrhoea in children and can even be fatal in some cases. I am extremely happy that we have inducted the Rotavirus vaccine in the routine immunization programme, which will protect our children from this deadly virus,” Joshi said.

Talking about the vaccine, Principal Secretary Medical Health and Family Welfare, Prashant Trivedi said, “We will see a a significant drop in the infant mortality rate after the launch of this vaccine.”

The vaccine was first introduced in India in the routine immunization programme in 2016 in Odisha and subsequently expanded to the other nine states of Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Tripura and Jharkhand, he added.

More than 2.1 crore doses of Rotavirus vaccine have been administered to children till May 2018. During the initial period of Rotavirus vaccine introduction, only the infants coming for the first dose of OPV and pentavalent will be administered Rotavirus vaccine, said Dr Neena Gupta Director General Family Welfare.

“We will be protecting 57 lakh newborns every year against Rotavirus diarrhoea with the introduction of the vaccine,” she added.

According to National Health Mission Director Pankaj Kumar, “Diarrhoea is responsible for about 9 percent of under-five deaths globally and 10 percent in India. Available data indicates that Rotavirus is responsible for nearly 40 percent of moderate to severe diarrhoea in under-five children resulting in approximately 78,000 deaths in the country.”

Every episode of diarrhoea costs 7 percent of the average annual income of Indian families, enough to push low income groups below poverty line. It is estimated that India spends a staggering Rs 1,000 crore every year on management of Rotavirus diarrhoea, he added.

Amit Mehrotra from UNICEF mentioned that the World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended inclusion of Rotavirus vaccine in the national immunization programme of all countries. The Rotavirus vaccines have been introduced in 95 countries.

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