Every child to get Rotavirus vaccine by September

It is one of the most common causes of severe diarrhoea in children less than 2 years of age

August 09, 2019 10:16 pm | Updated 10:16 pm IST - NEW DELHI

A drop for life: Rotavirus vaccination drops being administered to a child

A drop for life: Rotavirus vaccination drops being administered to a child

“The Health Ministry has drawn an ambitious plan under the 100 days agenda of the newly elected government, wherein it has been decided to provide Rotavirus vaccine to every child across all States and Union Territories by September, 2019,” Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said on Friday.

He said diarrhoea was one of the biggest killers in children and Rotavirus was one of the most common causes of severe diarrhoea in children less than 2 years of age.

“Rotavirus vaccine along with proper sanitation, hand washing practices, ORS and zinc supplementation will go a long way in reducing the mortality and morbidity due to diarrhoea in children,” the Minister said. The government was also committed to increasing the full immunisation coverage and ensuring that the benefit of the life-saving vaccines was provided to every child.

In India, every year, 37 out of every 1,000 children born are unable to celebrate their 5th birthday, and one of the major reasons for this is diarrhoeal deaths. Out of all the causes of diarrhoea, Rotavirus is a leading cause of diarrhoea in children less than 5 years of age.

It is estimated that Rotavirus cause 8,72,000 hospitalisations; 32,70,000 outpatient visits and estimated 78,000 deaths annually in India.

Rotavirus diarrhoea can be prevented through vaccination. Other diarrhoea can be prevented through general measures like good hygiene, frequent hand washing, safe water and safe food consumption, exclusive breastfeeding and vitamin A supplementation.

Introduced in 2016

Rotavirus vaccine was introduced in 2016 in a phased manner, beginning with 4 States initially and later expanded to 7 more States. The vaccine is now available in 28 States/Union Territories. It is expected to be available in all 36 States/Union Territories by September 2019.

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