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India’s 5-in-1 pentavalent programme for kids in jeopardy

Monday, April 6, 2009, 15:43 This news item was posted in Featured category and has 3 Comments so far.

 

Pentavalent, or the five-in-on vaccine combination programme, for kids in India is in has met with  roadblock with the exit of the health minister.

Introducing the single-shot pentavalent vaccines instead of the five individual vaccine was the brain-child of the former Union health minister Dr Anbumani Ramadoss.

Now that Dr Ramdoss has resigned from the Indian health ministry, the programme, which was supposed to have taken off from April 1, has come to a dead end.

What is the pentavalent vaccine programme?

The pentavalent vaccine combines antigens against five diseases targeted through vaccination in children — diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus (DPT), hepatitis B and Haemophilus Influenza type B (HIB).

Pentavalent vaccine were to be introduced in India for the first time.The idea behind was the pentavalent vaccines provide the opportunity to improve immunization rates through better compliance. Kids are spared of more shots because more vaccine antigens can be given at single visit.

However, the amibitious programme to induct pentavalent vaccine in the National Immunisation Programme (NIP) is unlikely to happen anytime soon now. According to officials in the ministry of health, since the “health minister is not there, it cannot happen now”.

Pentavalent vaccines would be included in India’s Natinal Immunisation Programme before the end of the year, said a health ministry official. “At present, it is difficult to get Cabinet approvals. We are also looking at the availability, depending on which domestic tenders will be floated soon. Meanwhile, We are negotiating with the World Bank to get some funding,” he said.

It was last year that the Health Ministry had decided to introduce the pentavalent vaccine so as to protect children from Haemophilus Influenza type B, after introducing the Hepatitis-B vaccination as part of the routine immunization programme in Punjab.

Apart form hepatitis B, HIB — the bacteria which causes illnesses like meningitis, pneumonia and septic arthritis, is covered in the pentavalent vaccine combination.

The Indian government has planned to introduce Pentavalent vaccine in addition to Hepatitis-B in the routine immunization programme in 10 other states. These states are Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Goa, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab.

“Since supply may be a constraint, we decided to introduce it in a phased manner. After covering these 10 states, it will be introduced all over the country,” said the official.

Dr Vinod Kumar Paul, Professor and head of the Department of Paediatrics at AIIMS says 20 per cent of the under-five mortalities is due to pneumonia and since the HIB virus causes pneumonia, introducing the pentavalent vaccine is an important call.

As per the Indian government’s report on DLHS-3 (district-level household survey), Punjab was amongst the best performing states which have achieved 80% or above coverage in the child immunization programme. The government has planned to introduce Pentavalent vaccine in these better performing states.

The common pentavalent vaccines available in the Indian market include Bharat Biotech International (BBIL) COMVAC5 and Sanofi Aventis’ Pentaxim. Pentaxim comprises Tetanus vaccine, Diphtheria vaccine, Hib (haemophilus influenzae type b) vaccine, Inactivated Polio Vaccineand Acellular pertussis vaccine.

Pentaxim is given to children in 3 dose primary schedule at the age of 6 weeks (1½ month); the 2nd dose is given when the infant is 10 weeks (2½ months) old and a third dose is given when the infant is 14 weeks (3½ months) old. The child receives a booster dose between the 15 th and 18th month against all the above 5 diseases.

Hepatitis B virus, which causes, severe disease of the liver causing an estimated 5.7 million cases of acute hepatitis B infection and more than 521 000 deaths from hepatitis B-related disease.

Hib can cause meningitis and severe pneumonia, leading to ~3 million cases of serious illness and 400,000 deaths each year in children under 5 years of age.

Hepatitis B virus, which causes, severe disease of the liver causing an estimated 5.7 million cases of acute hepatitis B infection and more than 521 000 deaths from hepatitis B-related disease.

So far, more than 130 countries have shifted to pentavalent vaccines while India still uses tetravalent vaccines in its national immunisation programme.

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3 Responses to “India’s 5-in-1 pentavalent programme for kids in jeopardy”

  1. Septic-Arthritis » And One for Mahler - Fic: House Warming said on Wednesday, June 3, 2009, 10:25

    [...] 5-in-one pentavalent vaccine programme in India, diphtheria …Apart form hepatitis B, HIB — the bacteria which causes illnesses like meningitis, pneumonia and septic arthritis, is covered in the pentavalent vaccine combination. The Indian government has planned to introduce Pentavalent vaccine in … [...]

  2. Septic-Arthritis » Case #80 “The Delicate Discussion" by Charlene Babcock Irvin, MD ... said on Thursday, June 11, 2009, 10:18

    [...] 5-in-one pentavalent vaccine programme in India, diphtheria …Apart form hepatitis B, HIB — the bacteria which causes illnesses like meningitis, pneumonia and septic arthritis, is covered in the pentavalent vaccine combination. The Indian government has planned to introduce Pentavalent vaccine in … [...]

  3. kalyan shekhda said on Friday, January 8, 2010, 10:58

    i want to know that in india which company manufacture the pentavalant vaccine……..?
    is vaccine from serum institute of india qualified……..?
    can i use vaccine from other manufacture company for second dose{e.g. first dose of pentavelant is easy five(panacea company) can i use second dose of pentavelent name pantavet{from serum institute of india}}…?
    pls reply me as fast as possible……
    thnx

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