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National Immunisation Coverage in India

Context:

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.

Relevance:

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

Phases:

  • 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:
  • 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:
  • 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:
  • 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


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