GAVI to provide Pneumococcal vaccines from 2010-2015

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Kolkata, May 06 (UNI) GAVI Alliance has promised to provide India with pneumococcal vaccines(PCV7) from 2010-2015 to prevent the increasing number of cases and deaths due to Invasive Pneumococcal Diseases(IPD), which claims about 3.8 lakh child deaths every year in India.

Member of the Central Committee on Immunisation of Indian Academy of Pediatrics Dr Jaydeep Choudhury today said that they had asked the Central Government's National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation to recommend introduction of the Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine-7, which contains seven sero strains(strains from bacteria) and is capable of efficiently combating the disease among children below five years, especially those under two years who are more vulnerable to the disease.

''This vaccine is very expensive requiring good cold chain network as well as health care units with proper Routine Immunisation(RI) infrastructure,'' he said, adding that with the increasing resistance of the 24 strains of the pneumococcal bacteria to the different forms of vaccines available in the country and internally, it is essential for the public to take initiative to jointly combat the spread of the disease.

''Four shots of the vaccine required to immunise a child costs around Rs 16,000 that is provided by most developed countries free of cost, but India is not in a position to do that,'' Dr Chaudhury said. He added that Global Alliance of Vaccines and Immunisation have decided to supply the PCV-7 to at least 72 countries which are not well equipped to manufacture the vaccine at a subsidised rate.

India leads the world in Under-five mortality, with over 20 lakh deaths annually. Pneumonia is responsible for 19 per cent of these under-five deaths and India contributes to 4.1 lakh of these deaths with at least 50 per cent of these being caused by pneumococcal pneumonia and related diseases caused by Steptococcus pneumonia, also known as pneumococcus, a bacterial pathogen.

''This vaccine will enable us to reduce mortality rates by at least 50 per cent,'' he said.

Although, the bacteria is becoming resistant to several vaccines available in the world by at least 58 per cent each year, the panel of experts from IAP and other paediatrics present at the press meet said this vaccine will not only reduce the deaths and cases of this disease but it has also been seen that the family members of the victims also did not suffer from the disease later on.

The bacteria can cause Pneumonia when it invades the lungs, causes Septicemia when enters the blood stream, Meningitis when invades the brain and spinal cord, Otitis media when affects the middle ear and Sinusitis when it affects the sinuses of the body.

UNI LL PL DB1702

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