Gujarat rolls out free pneumococcal pneumonia vaccine programme with target to cover 12 lakh children

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Ahmedabad, Oct 20 (PTI) The Gujarat government on Wednesday rolled out free vaccine against pneumococcal pneumonia as part of the Centre’s universal immunisation programme, with a target of covering 12 lakh children of up to 18 months old.

The state launched pneumococcal conjugate vaccine-PCV programme to protect toddlers from pneumococcal pneumonia, a lung disease among children that contributes to the overall mortality among children under five years of age.

Pneumococcal pneumonia is a respiratory disease that causes inflammation and accumulation of fluid in the lungs, and causes cough, chest tightness, shortness of breath and sore throat.

Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel launched the state-wide vaccination programme from a health and wellness centre at Alhadpura in the tribal district of Chhota Udepur.

“The vaccine will be given free-of-cost to children up to one and a half years of age at government hospitals, health centres, sub-health centres and health and wellness centres in the state under the Centre’s universal immunisation programme,” a government release stated.

Approximately 12 lakh children in the state will be given three doses in a year, with a total of 36 lakh PCV doses, it was stated.

Infants will be given the first dose when they are six weeks old, the second at 14 weeks and the third booster dose after nine months, it said.

Pneumococcal infections can cause serious illnesses such as meningitis, septicaemia, and pneumonia, as well as mild but more common diseases such as sinusitis.

In India, around one lakh children under the age of five died in 2010 due to pneumococcal pneumonia, and in 2014, the number was 53,000, the release said. PTI KA ARU ARU

(Disclaimer: This story is auto-generated from a syndicated feed; only the image & headline may have been reworked by www.republicworld.com)

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