The rotavirus vaccine will be introduced by March next in the government’s routine immunisation programme for protecting children from diarrhoea, a move that is expected to save around 50,000 lives per year from the disease. The Centre will also launch a three-year-long anti-measles-rubella (MR) campaign next year at a cost of Rs 1,500 crore for saving children in the age group of nine months to 15 years from all kinds of measles.
Rotavirus is a common virus that causes diarrhoea among infants and children throughout the world. Presently, more that 1.50 lakh children die in the country due to the disease every year, of which rotavirus accounts to 50 per cent of the deaths.
Additional Secretary Health, C K Mishra said the introduction of the vaccine (in March next year) will be launched in four states initially including Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Orissa and will act as a “game changer” in reducing the child mortality rate.
“It will be a game changer in bringing down the child mortality as the new vaccine is expected to save more than 50,000 children per year,” he said. Diarrhoea also has high morbidity rate which will be controlled with the rotavirus dose.
“Apart from 1.50 children who die due to diarrhoea, at least two to three times of the children suffer from the disease. It not just the deaths that will be prevented but the whole gamut of diarrhoea-controlling exercise,” he said. The rotavirus vaccine introduced in the national programme has been developed by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech.
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