Noticing massive gaps in figures provided by states on immunisation programme and the ground reality, the government on Friday said it will open a call centre in the national capital to monitor the implementation.

“In the database, we shall have telephone numbers of parents of children who will be given shots... In case parents don’t have telephone then any other family member or some contact number of the officials of village panchayat would be mentioned to confirm if a child has been vaccinated,” Health and Family Welfare Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said.

Answering questions in the Lok Sabha, he said the call centre is being set up to ensure compulsory immunisation of children and hoped to see results by next month. “This is a new introduction and by next month we are going to get the first result,” he said.

On whether government plans to include anti-pneumonia vaccination in its Universal Immunisation Programme, Mr. Azad said two types of vaccines are available in the market but given their cost its inclusion was not possible.

A vaccine for pneumonia costs Rs. 100 and three doses are required. While another patented vaccine is also available costing Rs 3,800 and if three shots are given this would cost about Rs 12,000 per person.

“If Rs 12,000 per person has to be provided, you can imagine the budget of the government under UIP,” he said.

Mr. Azad also said there is no single causative organism for pneumonia and technically no single vaccine can prevent the disease. However, pneumococcal and influenza vaccines are available but currently not in the National Immunisation programme.

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