Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan said the government’s decision to introduce the Rotavirus vaccine in the Universal immunisation programme (UIP) should be considered as one of the most “pro-people” decisions by any government in recent years. He said it could drastically reduce infant mortality, particularly among the poorest sections of society.
Dr Harsh Vardhan also called for strengthening UIP to eradicate infant mortality in the country and said there should be more research to fight disease burden.
Dr Harsh Vardhan was speaking at the 11th International Rotavirus Symposium held in Delhi. He said Rotavirus is the primary cause of moderate to severe diarrhoea morbidity and mortality for children less than five years of age, and by including it under UIP along with Japanese Encephalitis, Rubella and Polio, the government has sent a sharp signal of its commitment to the people.
Starting from 2015, the Rotavirus vaccine will be introduced as an additional dose along with the first, second and third doses of DPT in the UIP. It is also proposed to establish an expert committee to assess the progress in a few states and union territories on the basis of the disease burden and vaccine availability.