Raipur. Children will now receive the Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV) free of cost under the routine immunization program in Chhattisgarh. It protects children from pneumonia, meningitis, septicemia, sinusitis, and otitis media (ear infection). The pneumococcal bacteria are responsible for most of them. Babies will be given three doses at six weeks, 14 weeks and nine months of age. The vaccine is taken in three doses and is available in the market at a high cost. Health Minister T.S. Singhdeo today launched PCV vaccination under the routine immunization program in a virtual program.
In his address, the Health Minister said that the inclusion of PCV in routine vaccination will protect children up to five years of age. It will also help in reducing the child mortality rate in the state. He said that due to the high cost of PCV, its public reach was limited. Now its amalgamation with routine immunization will make it available to all children.
He also said that 13 per cent of children under the age of five die due to pneumonia. In 2010, one lakh five thousand children and in 2015, 53 thousand children died due to pneumococcal pneumonia. T. S. Singhdeo asked the Health Department officials to get PCV to a maximum number of babies. He urged for awareness among parents of newborn babies.
Director of Health and Family Welfare Department Dr Priyanka Shukla said in the inaugural program that children up to five years of age are most affected by pneumococcal bacteria. PCV will help keep these children safe. She said that in districts with a high risk of Japanese Encephalitis, the vaccine is part of the routine immunization program. Dr Shukla informed that, despite the Covid-19 epidemic, 94 per cent of children in the state had received vaccination under the regular vaccination program in the last financial year 2020-21. She appreciated all the Chief Medical and Health Officers and field staff for their work even in difficult times.