About 20 million additional children need to be vaccinated to achieve complete global immunization coverage

New Delhi, 18 July 2018: As per recent data from UN bodies, the national average for full immunization is 62%, for diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine (DTP3) coverage is 78.4%, and that for measles first dose 81.1%. Among the Indian states, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh (also called ‘BIMARU’) have been found to have the highest numbers of partially immunized and non-immunized children.
Almost 20 million children were bereft of the benefits of full immunization in 2017. Of these, almost 8 million (40%) live in fragile or humanitarian settings, including countries affected by conflict. To reach all children with much-needed vaccines, the world will need to vaccinate an estimated 20 million additional children every year.
Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr KK Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “Mission Indradhanush, depicting seven colors of the rainbow, targets to immunize all children against seven vaccine preventable diseases namely Diphtheria, Pertussis, Tetanus, Childhood Tuberculosis, Polio, Hepatitis B and Measles. In addition to this, vaccines for JE (Japanese Encephalitis) and Hib (Haemophilus influenzae type B) are also being provided in selected states. Immunization is necessary for one and all. Often, people assume that it is not necessary because their children appear healthy or do not fall sick often. In other cases, health workers may not be able to reach out to some families due to non-availability of members at a certain point. There is a need to create awareness on the importance of immunization particularly for children and expectant mothers.”
The Universal Immunization Programme or UIP was relaunched in the year 2014 as ‘Mission Indradhanush’. The target was to achieve 90% immunization coverage by 2020, which has recently been changed to 2018 by the hon’ble Prime Minister.
Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Vice President of CMAAO, said, “Only sustainable immunization coverage year on year can lead to the way to achieving the set target. The efforts to reach out should be at par with the mission. There is still reluctance, opposition, and slow acceptance of vaccination apart from other operational challenges. The challenges faced in delivering lifesaving vaccines need to be addressed from the existing knowledge and lessons must be learnt from past experiences.”
The Vaccination Schedule under the UIP is as follows.
• BCG (Bacillus Calmette Guerin) 1 dose at Birth (upto 1 year if not given earlier)
• DPT (Diphtheria, Pertussis and Tetanus Toxoid) 5 doses; Three primary doses at 6weeks,10weeks and 14 weeks and two booster doses at 16-24 months and 5 Years of age
• OPV (Oral Polio Vaccine) 5 doses; 0 dose at birth, three primary doses at 6,10 and 14 weeks and one booster dose at 16-24 months of age
• Hepatitis B vaccine 4 doses; 0 dose within 24 hours of birth and three doses at 6, 10 and 14 weeks of age.
• Measles 2 doses; first dose at 9-12 months and second dose at 16-24months of age
• TT (Tetanus Toxoid) 2 doses at 10 years and 16 years of age
• TT – for pregnant woman two doses or one dose if previously vaccinated within 3 Year
• In addition, Japanese Encephalitis (JE vaccine) vaccine was introduced in 112 endemic districts in campaign mode in phased manner from 2006-10 and has now been incorporated under the Routine Immunisation Programme.