NEW DELHI: Days after the Delhi government launched a free vaccination drive to protect children from pneumonia, health experts said the vaccine won’t create any conflict during the Covid pandemic.
The Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccination drive launched by the government aims to reduce child mortality.
“Along with diarrhea, pneumonia is one of the leading causes of death of children in India. Earlier, limited hospitals were offering the pneumococcal vaccine but now more facilities are providing it. The vaccine definitely protects from pneumonia. At this stage, there is no Covid vaccine for children as clinical trials are going on. So there should be no confusion pneumococcal jab with any other one,” said Dr Vikas Bhatia, Executive Director, AIIMS, Hyderabad.
“Pneumococcal vaccine won’t provide any protection against Covid-19 pneumonia. Children are at lower risk of having serious Covid pneumonia. Even if someone gets it, this vaccine won’t have any role,” he added. The vaccine that usually costs between Rs 1,500 to Rs 6,000 will be administered for free by Delhi government. Tamil Nadu has also announced pneumococcal vaccine campaign.
“Pneumococcal vaccine is a bacterial vaccine and does not protect from Covid-19. Flu vaccines, which are commonly given to the older population, are viral vaccines. Covid-19 and influenza are caused by two different viruses. One could be protected if he or she gets the flu vaccine to protect against lung diseases including pneumonia,” said Dr Jugal Kishore, Head, Community Medicine at Safdarjung Hospital.
Three doses for infants
The pneumococcal conjugate vaccine will be administered in 3 doses, given at the age of 1½ months, 3½ months and 9 months