Gavi [to 20 May 2017]
13 May 2017
India’s most vulnerable children to get access to new vaccine against pneumonia
Pneumococcal vaccine will reach 2.1 million children in the first year.
Geneva, 13 May 2017 – For the first time, millions of children in India will receive protection for free against the leading cause of pneumonia – which kills more children under the age of five than any other infectious disease in the world – thanks to the launch of the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV).
PCV is being introduced to India’s Universal Immunization Program (UIP) with support from Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, a move that will help to reduce the number of under-five pneumonia deaths in India, the highest in the world.
Currently, almost 200,000 children under five die from pneumonia in India each year. Until now PCV, a relatively new vaccine, has only been made available in the private market, putting it beyond the reach of most of the population. With this phased introduction, nearly 2.1 million children in Himachal Pradesh, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh will be vaccinated with PCV. This coverage will be expanded across the entire country in the coming years.
“This is a huge milestone because it means that, for the first time, India’s most vulnerable children will be protected against one of India’s most deadly diseases,” said Gavi CEO Seth Berkley. “India is not only the largest Gavi-supported country, but it also has the single largest number of under-immunised children in the world. This vaccine will save many lives.”…