• India’s immunisation system is one of the world’s largest public health initiatives.
  • It began as the Expanded Immunisation Programme in 1978 and was later renamed the Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP) in 1985 after being expanded beyond urban areas.
  • UIP delivers vaccines against 11 diseases nationwide and one disease sub-nationally.
  • It is a cost-effective public health strategy, significantly reducing vaccine-preventable infections and contributing to the decline in India’s Under-5 mortality rate from 45 per 1000 live births in 2014 to 35 per 1000 in 2019.

Objectives of the Universal Immunisation Programme

  • Increase Immunisation Coverage: Expand reach to all sections of the population, especially in rural and remote areas.
  • Improve Quality of Services: Ensure safe, effective, and high-quality immunisation services.
  • Establish a Reliable Cold Chain System: Develop and maintain an efficient cold chain network up to the health facility level to preserve vaccine potency.
  • Performance Monitoring: Implement robust monitoring and evaluation mechanisms to track progress and identify areas for improvement.
  • Achieve Self-Sufficiency in Vaccine Production: Promote indigenous vaccine production to reduce dependence on external sources.

New Vaccines Introduced Under the Programme

  • 1986: Introduction of a technology mission on immunisation, monitoring PMO’s 20-point programme, covering infants (0-12 months).
  • 1992: Inclusion of both UIP and the Safe Motherhood Programme.
  • 2005: Launch of the National Rural Health Mission.
  • 2012: Declared as the ‘Year of Intensification of Routine Immunisation’.
  • 2016: Switch from tOPV to bOPV to counter polio risks; introduction and scaling up of the Rotavirus vaccine.
  • 2017: Introduction of Measles & Rubella (MR) Vaccine, Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV), and Adult Japanese Encephalitis (JE) Vaccine.
  • 2019: Introduction of Tetanus and adult Diphtheria (Td) vaccine.

Specific Vaccines Introduced

  • Rotavirus Vaccine (RVV)
  • Measles-Rubella (MR) Vaccine
  • Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV)
  • Tetanus and adult Diphtheria (Td) Vaccine
  • Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV)


The Universal Immunisation Programme is one of the largest vaccination initiatives globally, aimed at protecting children and pregnant mothers from preventable diseases.

India has significantly contributed to global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by focusing on the immunisation of newborns, infants, children, and pregnant women.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Co-WIN portal was developed for planning, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of COVID-19 vaccination in India, showcasing the country’s adaptability and commitment to public health.

Legacy Editor Changed status to publish June 21, 2024