India's health ministry to initiate impact study on pneumococcal conjugate vaccine

Along with rolling out the (five-in-one vaccine to check pneumonia as planned, the union health ministry will launch an impact study in one high-mortality state before deciding on introducing pneumococcal conjugate vaccine as part of the India’s national immunization program.

The National Technical Advisory Group, India, the highest body to advise the government on introducing any vaccine, had recommended for an impact study on the seven-valent pneumococcal vaccine (PCV 7) in one state as early as possible. The government, which is yet to finalize the state for the study, will make a decision on introducing PCV based on the outcome of the study, sources said.

Taking into consideration the existing data and prevalence of pneumonia among children, the NTAGI had recommended the national roll out of Hib vaccine by 2012 as a multi-dose liquid pentavalent vaccine (DPT-Hep B-Hib) and the government is going ahead with the plan to introduce the same in 10 states next year.

Haemophilus influenza type b (Hib) is one of the two bacteria causing pneumonia and meningitis. Experts in the field have called for the introduction of PCV as the follow-up to this Hib because it immunizes children against pneumonia and other diseases caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae.

The Indian Association of Pediatrics: Committee on Immunization has recommended for inclusion of pneumococcal vaccines in the routine immunization schedule, considering the high mortality caused by this disease in children in the country.