HYDERABAD: Pentavalent vaccine is the perfect alternative for preventing leading causes of deaths among children aged under five like pneumonia, diphtheria, tetanus etc. The vaccine will be officially launched in Andhra Pradesh on May 7 in Tirupati. It will be administered to infants every Wednesday and Saturday, according to the prescribed immunisation schedule from then on.
The vaccine will be launched in May second week in Telangana State. Right from sensitising doctors and officials at the state and district level, Asha workers, auxiliary nurse midwives (ANMs) and Anganwadi workers have been trained in administering the vaccine, said Dr Joga Rao, AP Immunisation Programme Officer, speaking at a media consultation workshop organised by the United Nations Children’s Fund here Tuesday.
“We will organise Kalajathas (folk cultural programmes) in 1300 villages across AP to create awareness about the uses of Pentavalent vaccine,” Joga Rao said. The vaccine is being introduced under the universal immunisation programme in both the states. It is touted as ‘’five-in-one’ vaccine as it prevents five diseases pneumonia, diphtheria, tetanus, whopping cough and hepatitis B.
Instead of administering DPT, Hepatitis B and Haemophilus influenzea B vaccines separately, all three are combined in one Pentavalent vaccine and given to a child.
As a result the number of injections given to an infant decreases from nine to three, explained Jai Kumar, joint director Child Immunisation Programme, Telangana. As the vaccine, which costs thousands in private hospitals, is administered free of cost at government hospitals, people should utilise the opportunity, Jai Kumar pointed out.
Already Pentavalent vaccine is part of the immunisation programme in more than 189 countries and states like Tamil Nadu and Kerala in the country are already administering it to infants, said Vivek Singh of PHFI. KN Arun Kumar of the Word Health Organisation (WHO), former Niloufer Hospital superintendent P Sudarshan Reddy, Prosun Sen of UNICEF were also present at the workshop that was intended to create awareness among the media personnel.