Union Health Minister Dr. Mansukh Mandaviya launched a nationwide expansion of Pneumococcal 13-valent Conjugate Vaccine (PCV) under the Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP) as a part of ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’.
It was for the first time in the country that PCV would be available for universal use. Pneumonia was a leading cause of death among children under five, globally and in India. “Pneumonia caused by pneumococcus is the most common cause of severe pneumonia in children. Around 16% of deaths in children occur due to pneumonia in India. The nationwide roll-out of PCV will reduce child mortality by around 60%”.
Universal Immunization Programme was launched in 1985 to prevent mortality and morbidity in children and pregnant women against 12 vaccine-preventable diseases. Under UIP, free of cost vaccination is provided against twelve vaccine-preventable diseases i.e. Tuberculosis, Diphtheria, Pertussis, Tetanus, Polio, Hepatitis B, Pneumonia and Meningitis due to Haemophilus Influenzae type b (Hib), Measles, Rubella, Japanese Encephalitis (JE) and Rotavirus diarrhoea. The programme is one of the largest health programmes in the world. Despite being operational for many years.