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National Immunisation Coverage in India


The WHO and UNICEF have released estimates for national immunisation coverage in 2022. The coverage rate for DPT3 vaccines, representing diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus, in India reached a new high of 93% in 2022.

  • This surpasses the pre-pandemic record of 91% in 2019 and demonstrates a significant increase from 85% in 2021.


GS II: Government Policies and Interventions

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. WHO and UNICEF Estimates of National Immunization Coverage
  2. Universal Immunization Programme (UIP)
  3. Mission Indradhanush
  4. DPT3 Vaccine

WHO and UNICEF Estimates of National Immunization Coverage:

  • WHO and UNICEF review reports and data from member states to estimate national immunization coverage.
  • The estimates are country-specific and reflect the performance of immunization systems.

Global Coverage:

  • Global immunization services reached 4 million more children in 2022 compared to the previous year.
  • Approximately 20.5 million children worldwide remained unvaccinated or under-vaccinated in 2022.

Coverage in India:

  • India accounted for 1.6 million of the unvaccinated and under-vaccinated children for the DPT-3 vaccine.
  • DPT vaccine protects against diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus and is administered in three doses to children under 7 years old.
  • India achieved 93% coverage for its 22.5 million infants in 2022.

Performance in WHO South-East Asia Region:

  • The region showed the best immunization coverage improvements, mainly due to efforts in India and Indonesia.

Impact of Inequities in Immunization Coverage:

  • Inequities in coverage create pockets of unvaccinated children and increase the risk of outbreaks of preventable diseases like measles and diphtheria.

Universal Immunization Programme (UIP)

Program Evolution:

  • Expanded Programme on Immunization launched in 1978
  • Renamed as Universal Immunization Programme in 1985 for expanded reach
  • Integration with Child Survival and Safe Motherhood Programme in 1992
  • Inclusion in National Reproductive and Child Health Programme in 1997
  • Integral part of National Rural Health Mission since 2005

Program Scope:

  • Targets approximately 2.67 crore newborns and 2.9 crore pregnant women annually
  • One of the largest public health programmes in India
Vaccine Coverage:
  • Free immunization provided against 12 vaccine-preventable diseases
  • National Coverage (9 diseases):
    • Diphtheria, Pertussis, Tetanus, Polio, Measles, Rubella, severe form of Childhood Tuberculosis, Hepatitis B, and Meningitis & Pneumonia caused by Hemophilus Influenza type B
  • Sub-national Coverage (3 diseases):
    • Rotavirus diarrhoea, Pneumococcal Pneumonia, and Japanese Encephalitis

Full Immunization:

  • Criteria for a child to be fully immunized
  • All due vaccines as per national immunization schedule within the first year of the child’s age

Program Achievements:

  • Elimination of polio in 2014
  • Elimination of maternal and neonatal tetanus in 2015

Mission Indradhanush (MI)

  • MI was launched in December 2014
  • Aims to increase full immunization coverage for children to 90%

Target Areas:

  • Focus on pockets of low immunization coverage and hard-to-reach areas
  • Prioritize areas with the highest proportion of unvaccinated and partially vaccinated children


  • Total of six phases of Mission Indradhanush completed
  • Coverage extended to 554 districts across the country
Intensified Mission Indradhanush (IMI):
  • Introduced in 2017
  • Enhances the immunization campaign
  • Seeks to achieve even higher immunization coverage levels

DPT3 Vaccine:

  • The DPT vaccine is a combination vaccine that provides protection against three infectious diseases: diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), and tetanus.
  • The vaccine contains diphtheria and tetanus toxoids, as well as either killed whole cells of the pertussis-causing bacteria or pertussis antigens.
  • Administration of the DPT vaccine involves a primary dose given as part of the pentavalent vaccine, followed by two booster doses at 16-24 months and 5-6 years of age, respectively.
  • Diphtheria is an infectious disease caused by the bacterium Corynebacterium diphtheriae.
  • It primarily affects children between the ages of 1 and 5 years, with higher incidence during colder months in temperate climates.
  • Tetanus is an infection caused by the bacteria Clostridium tetani.
  • The bacteria produce a toxin that leads to painful muscle contractions.
  • Tetanus bacteria typically enter the body through breaks in the skin.
  • It does not spread from person to person.
  • Pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough, is a highly contagious respiratory illness caused by the bacteria Bordetella pertussis.
  • The bacteria attach to the cilia in the upper respiratory system and release toxins, damaging the cilia and causing airway swelling.
  • Pertussis can easily spread from person to person through the air.

-Source: Indian Express, The Hindu

July 2024