- India on Saturday rolled out the long-awaited anti-pneumonia vaccine as part of the government’s Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP).
- The vaccine will protect children against severe forms of pneumococcal disease, such as pneumonia and meningitis.
- The vaccine programme aims to protect nearly 270 lakh newborns against 12 preventable diseases every year.
- Pneumococcal disease is the leading cause of vaccine-preventable deaths in children under five years of age globally and in India. India accounts for nearly 20% of global pneumonia deaths in this age group.
- The vaccine will give protection against 13 types of pneumococcal bacteria which cause pneumonia disease.
- There are over 90 different types of pneumococcal bacteria which cause a range of problems.
- Currently, the vaccine is being rolled out to approximately 21 lakh children in Himachal Pradesh and parts of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh in the first phase.