PATNA: Infants in Bihar’s 17 districts will be administered Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV) free of cost at government hospitals and health centres from July 19 onwards.
“The vaccination drive is being carried out at the advice of National Technological Advisory Group on Immunization and will be executed phase wise with the first phase being executed in Himachal Pradesh, UP and Bihar,” said Bihar’s additional director-cum-state immunisation officer Dr N K Sinha at the launch of the drive in Patna on Monday.
The State Health Society Bihar has already trained district programme officers and workers with the help of World Health Organisation and Unicef for the purpose.
The 17 high-priority districts chosen in Bihar include Araria, Begusarai, Darbhanga, Kishanganj, Khagaria, Katihar, Muzaffarpur, Munger, Vaishali, Madhepura, Madhubani, Purnia, Samastipur, Saharsa, Sitamarhi, Sheohar and Supaul.
According to state health officials, 15% deaths of children under five years of age in India are caused by pneumonia. As per the National Family Health Survey-4 (2015-2016), nearly 1,78,994 children under five years died of pneumonia in India. Of them, 21,000 belonged to Bihar. Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, UP and Rajasthan contribute around 70% of pneumonia cases in India.
Indian Academy of Paediatricians’s Bihar chapter secretary Dr N K Aggarwal said 139 countries in the world had already launched this vaccine. India has a pneumonia mortality rate of seven and diarrhoea mortality rate of five per 1,000 live births, he said.
“We target to bring down the pneumonia mortality rate to three and diarrhoea mortality rate to one per 1,000 live births by 2025 with the administration of PCV-13 that provides protection against pneumonia and meningitis,” Dr Aggarwal said.
Bihar’s UNICEF health specialist Dr Syed Hubbe Ali said the vaccine would be provided at all health centres, sub-centre and anganwadi centres with the first two primary doses being administered at six and 14 weeks and the booster dose at ninth month.