India’s rotavirus vaccine launched

What 

  • Country’s first, indigenous rotavirus vaccine launched
  • The Rotavirus vaccine was developed indigenously, under a public-private partnership between the Ministry of Science Technology and the Health Ministry.

Why

  • to combat diarrhoeal deaths.

How

  • As given in the figure rota virus infects the small intestine and leads to death of cells on the small intestine. In turn this leads to reduced absorption of the nutrients from the food we eat. This continued malabsorption of carbohydrates causes diarrhoea which can be dangerous in children
  • Rota virus vaccine prevents the infection by virus by increasing body’s defence against rotavirus infection

Why important to prevent rotavirus infection

  • Diarrhoea caused by Rotavirus is one of the leading causes of severe diarrhoea and death among children less than five years of age.
  • In India, between 80,000 to one lakh children die due to Rotavirus diarrhoea annually while nearly 9 lakh children are admitted to hospital with severe diarrhoea. Another 32.7 lakh children visit the hospital as out patients due to the disease.
  • Adding this life-saving vaccine to our immunisation programme will not only improve the health of our children but also reduce hospitalisation and other conditions associated with diarrhoea due to Rotavirus such as malnutrition, delayed physical and mental development among children.
  • Reduced hospitalisation lower the economic burden on the family and the health cost burden on the country

Importance of the current vaccine

  • It is an indegenous vaccine, ie. development involved the complete cycle from basic research to product development of the vaccine in India.
  • The company has been given undertaken to keep the cost of the vaccine at US$ 1 per dose.
  • This is the third such vaccine available globally against Rotavirus and, at the current prices, the cheapest

How will the vaccine be given

  • The vaccine was being introduced in the country’s national immunisation programme called Universal Immunis-ation Programme (UIP)
  • Initially in four States — Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Odisha — and would be expanded to the entire country in a phased manner
  • The Rotavac is in addition to three new vaccines that have been introduced in India’s Universal Immunis-ation Programme (UIP) including Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV), Measles, Rubella (MR) vaccine, and Adult Japanese Encephalitis (JE) vaccine.
  • With these new vaccines, India’s UIP will provide free vaccines against 12 life threatening diseases, to 27 million children annually, the largest birth cohort in the world.
  • The IPV was intro-duced in six States from Nov. 30, 2015 for double protection against polio.
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