Two Indian states will add a new pentavalent vaccine into their routine immunization schedules this week.
The 5-in-1 vaccine protects against hepatitis B (hepB), Haemophilus influenza type b (Hib), and diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (DTP).
Continuing the Phase One rollout of the vaccine, Madhya Pradesh and Rejasthan will join eight other states currently offering the vaccine for free as part of a project by the vaccine alliance, Gavi. Ten additional states will also begin offering the pentavalent vaccine before the year is over.
In 2015, the 16 remaining Indian states will offer the vaccine.
"India’s decision to expand access to pentavalent vaccines through the Universal Immunization Programme will have a major long term positive health impact by averting the deaths associated with Hib pneumonia, meningitis and hepB liver cancer," Dr. Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, said.
The news comes following the recent announcement that India is now polio free.
“Building on India’s polio eradication achievement, and together with the recent historic decision to introduce four new vaccines protecting against rotavirus, rubella, polio and Japanese encephalitis, the government of India is now providing more children with the chance to grow up healthy and lead productive lives,” Berkley said.