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’, here on Friday.
He also released communication and awareness packages on PCV to create awareness. They will be shared with all the States/Union Territories for further adaptation and utilisation.
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, he said.
“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%”, he stated.
‘Children are future’
Highlighting the importance of healthy children in a country’s growth, productivity and development, he pointed out that children were the future of the country and ‘it is our responsibility to provide them a healthy life’.
“Mission Indradhanush, launched by the Prime Minister, is one such endeavour in this regard. The vision of ‘Sabko vaccine, muft vaccine’ by the Prime Minister is guiding the COVID-19 vaccination programme and it has ensured that the eligible population gets access to the vaccines across the country,” he noted. The launch of PCV would further ensure healthy growth and development of children, besides reducing child mortality, he added.
The UIP is one of the largest public health programmes targeting close to 26.7 million newborns and 29 million pregnant women annually.