Pentavalent vaccine introductions represent historic milestone for immunisation in India

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Rollouts in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan start two-phase process which will add 5-in-1 vaccine to routine immunisation programmes in every Indian state

India pentavalent vaccine status October 2014

Geography of India’s pentavalent scale-up.

1 November 2014 - Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance welcomes this week’s introduction of pentavalent vaccine into the routine immunisation schedules of two Indian states, an historic milestone along the road to ensuring every child in India has access to the life-saving 5-in-1 vaccine.

Pentavalent vaccine which protects against diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (DTP), hepatitis B (hepB) and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), is currently available free of charge in eight states, thanks to Gavi-support.

There will be a two-phase process to the national scale-up. During phase one, 12 additional states starting with Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan this week, will roll out the vaccine. By December and the end of phase one two-thirds of infants born in India each year will have access to the vaccine. Phase two should take place in 2015 with the introduction of the 5-in-1 vaccine in the 16 remaining Indian states.

“India’s decision to expand access to pentavalent vaccines through the Universal Immunization Programme will have a major long term positive health impact by averting the deaths associated with Hib pneumonia, meningitis and hepB liver cancer,” said Dr Seth Berkley CEO of Gavi.

Some 6.8 million children living in India are under-immunised, representing nearly a third of the 21.8 million children in the world who still do not receive the full course of DTP-containing vaccines.

India’s commitment to immunisation enabled the country to be declared polio free earlier this year, thanks to the government’s strong political commitment, a multi-stakeholder approach and the use of highly-innovative methods to improve polio vaccination coverage.

“Building on India’s polio eradication achievement, and together with the recent historic decision to introduce four new vaccines protecting against rotavirus, rubella, polio and Japanese encephalitis, the government of India is now providing more children with the chance to grow up healthy and lead productive lives,” added Dr Berkley.

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