It will be a part of the routine immunisation schedule of the state government's Universal Immunisation Programme, a senior official said here today.
"We are ready to introduce this vaccine in Andhra Pradesh, which will protect the state's children from severe diarrhoea," Vanisri Saride, Joint Director, Child Health and Immunisation, told reporters.
Very shortly the vaccine programme will be launched in all the 13 districts. The vaccine will be available at government health centres free of cost. It will be included in routine immunisation schedule and cover about 3.6 lakh children, she said.
"This vaccine was till now available only at private health facilities in the state," Saride said. Sanjeev Upadhyaya, Health Specialist, UNICEF, said, "Rotavirus alone is responsible for 40 per cent of the severe diarrhoea cases, and kills one child every four minute in India.
We are confident the introduction of this vaccine will bring down the Infant Mortality Rate in the state (AP)." He said AP has shown 17 per cent decline in the under five mortality between 2009 and 2012.
Yet, each year diarrhoea affects eight per cent of children under five (Rapid Survey on Children 2013-14), which is a high number.
The rotavirus vaccine was launched nationally on March 26. The vaccine will be provided, in the first phase through the National Immunisation Programme to all children in Himachal Pradesh, Odisha, Haryana, and Andhra Pradesh.
Later on, it will be extended across the country. The vaccine will be made available at all government hospitals, sub-centres and immunisation session sites. Union Health Ministry earlier said rotavirus is one of the leading causes of severe diarrhoea and death among children below five. Every year nearly 80,000 to 1,00,000 children in India die due to it.