The health ministry has drawn up an ambitious plan under the 100-day agenda of the newly elected government to provide rotavirus vaccine to every child across all states and UTs of the country by September 2019.
The government is committed to ending morbidity and mortality in children due to diarrhoea by 2022, said Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare, while speaking on the expansion of rotavirus vaccine to the country.
Strengthening routine immunization is an essential investment in Indian children and will ensure a healthy future for the country.
Diarrhoea is one of the biggest killers in children and rotavirus is one of the most common causes of severe diarrhoea in children less than 2 years of age.
The rotavirus vaccine, along with proper sanitation, hand washing practices, ORS and zinc supplementation, will go a long way in reducing mortality and morbidity due to diarrhoea in children, he said.
The government is also increasing full immunization coverage, and ensuring that the benefits of life-saving vaccines is provided to every child.
It is estimated that rotavirus causes 8,72,000 hospitalizations; 32,70,000 outpatient visits and around 78,000 deaths annually in India.
Rotavirus diarrhoea presents in a manner similar to any other diarrhoea, but can mainly be prevented through rotavirus vaccination.
Keeping in view the burden of disease, National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI), an expert committee, recommended the introduction of rotavirus vaccine (RVV) in the Universal Immunization Programme (UIP).
Three doses of rotavirus vaccine are provided, along with other vaccines, free of cost under UIP at one-and-a-half months, two-and-a-half months, and three-and-a-half months of age.
Introduced in 2016 in a phased manner, the rotavirus vaccine is now available in 28 states/UTs.