For the benefit of children, the Delhi government launched pentavalent vaccine – a five-in-one vaccine yesterday in all government hospitals and primary health centres (PHC). The vaccine is intended to immunise children against Diphtheria, Pertussis, Tetanus, Hepatitis B and Haemophilus Influenzae Type B associated with childhood pneumonia and meningitis.
The DPT (Diphtheria, Pertussis, Tetanus) and Hepatitis B are already part of the national routine immunization programme. Protection against Hib is a new addition. Pneumonia is one of the largest killers among young children aged one month to five years of age.
Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit had announced the pentavalent vaccine while presenting the 2012-2013 budget. Launching the vaccine at the Maulana Azad Medical College, she added that the measure would ensure a disease-free childhood. “We have, in fact, provided insurance in a real sense to children against several life-threatening diseases for free. The injection will be given from today in at least 650 PHCs and all 32 major Delhi government hospitals,” Dikshit said.
Ideally, the vaccine should be given to an infant when he/ she is 45 days old as the child is more prone to these diseases in the age group of less than six months. The safe and effective vaccaine, successfully launched in Tamil Nadu and Kerala in 2011, Haryana introduced it in 2012 is widely used in most developed countries.
Parents can take their children to any PHCs for the vaccination on Wednesday and Friday, and on all working days to any Delhi government hospital. Health Minister Dr A K Walia said the government was serious about bringing down the mortality rate. “The rate was 46 per 1,000 live births in 2005-2006, and down to just 28 in 2012. Further, only 58 per cent of infants were getting their full immunisation in 1998-1999. That figure is 89 per cent in 2011-12,” Walia said.