- Union health ministry has launched indigenous vaccine Rotavac to prevent diarrhea.
- This vaccine is launched under universal immunization programme.
- The vaccine has been developed indigenously under a public-private partnership by the ministries of science and technology and health and family welfare.
- Rotavirus is the primary cause of diarrhoea in children in India and kills as many as 78,000 children under five years of age every year.
- The vaccine Rotavac was developed by a joint vaccine development initiative supported by the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Research Council of Norway, and the UK Department for International Development
- The efficacy rate of the vaccine is around 58%.
- The vaccine will be initially introduced in four states – Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Odisha. Its coverage will be expanded to the entire country in a phased manner.
Rotavirus is the most common cause of severe diarrhea among infants and children throughout the world.. In 2014, nearly 80,000 children died due to to rotavirus, whereas about 9 lakh were hospitalised due to episodes of severe diarrhoea. Rotavirus is transmitted by the faecal-oral route, via contact with contaminated hands, surfaces and objects, and possibly by the respiratory route. Viral diarrhea is highly contagious.Kids with a rotavirus infection have fever, nausea, and vomiting, often followed by abdominal cramps and frequent, watery diarrhea.Also sometimes the diarrhea that accompanies a rotavirus infection is so severe that it can quickly lead to dehydration.
About Universal Immunisation Programme (U.I.P.)
- India's Universal Immunization Programme (UIP) launched in 1985 is one of the largest immunization programmes in the world and a major public health intervention in the country. It aims to give maximum protection to the children against Vaccine Preventable Diseases (VPDs).
- The measles vaccine was added in 1985 and in 1990 Vit A supplementation was added to the programme. UIP became a part of Child Survival and Safe Motherhood Programme in 1992 and is currently one of the key areas under National Rural Health Mission(NRHM) since 2005. It consists of vaccination for seven diseases- tuberculosis, diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), tetanus, poliomyelitis, measles and Hepatitis B.
- In 2014 it was announced that four vaccines will be added to the program, namely rotavirus, rubella and Japanese encephalitis, as well as the injectable polio vaccine. With these new vaccines, India’s UIP will provide free vaccines against 11 life threatening diseases, to 27 million children annually, the largest birth cohort in the world.
- Government launched ‘Mission Indradhanush’ in December 2014 to fully immunise more than 89 lakh children who are either unvaccinated or partially vaccinated. In two phases of ‘Mission Indradhanush’ spread over April 2015 to July 2015 and October 2015 to January 2016 a total of 1.42 crore children and 36.7 lakh women were immunized in 20 lakh immunization sessions.
- Adding this life-saving vaccine to Universal immunisation programme will not only improve the health of children but also reduce hospitalisation and other conditions associated with diarrhoea due to rotavirus such as malnutrition and delayed physical and mental development among children.
- Reduced hospitalisation eases the economic burden on the family and the health cost burden on the country.
- This vaccine is cheapest in the market as compare to two foreign vaccine suggested by WHO. Free distribution under the centrally-sponsored immunisation programme is expected to further bring down prices.