Parents need not worry anymore about remembering dates of vaccination of their newborn child. With the introduction of a new vaccine, Pentavalent, children need not take separate vaccines for hepatitis 1, 2 and 3. Instead they will be administered one common vaccine.
Beginning January 1, the civic body in Ahmedabad has done away with the old vaccine and launched the new vaccine. People can avail free vaccination for their children at all urban health centres and municipal hospitals of the city.
Presently, nine types of vaccines are given to a baby between the age of 6 weeks and 12 months. Elaborating on it, medical officer of health for AMC Dr Suhas Kulkarni said, “The vaccines include DPT and three doses for Hepatitis. DPT is a combination of vaccine against three diseases — Diphtheria, Pertussis and Tetanus. Currently, three doses of DPT are given to a baby — when it is 6 weeks, 10 weeks and 14 weeks old.”
But the new Pentavalent vaccine will have five antigens for DPT and hepatitis in a single formulation, thus reducing the total number of doses, he added. With this, six separate doses of DPT and Hepatitits will be replaced by three doses of Pentavalent. Not only this, the new vaccine will give protection from haemophilus influenzae b (Hib), which is considered one of the leading causes of meningitis and pneumonia in children. According to World Health Organization, annually 2.4 to 3 million cases of Hib occur in India. “The introduction of Hib vaccine in India will reduce infant mortality,” added Kulkarni.
The new vaccine will be launched under the National Rural Health Mission by the central government and guidelines have been set by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare of Government of India.