Responding to a media report in a national daily that has claimed shortage of Pneumococcal (PCV) vaccine across the country, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Saturday said that the report is ill-informed and provides erroneous information.
The report had quoted State health officials (including SIO, Maharashtra) noting that tendering delay has led to the disruption in schedules of tens of thousands of children across the country for over a month.
The ministry said in a statement that as per data available till October 7, 2022, sufficient doses of PCV Vaccine are available.
"A total of 70,18,817 (70.18 lakh) doses of PCV are available with all States and UTs. This includes 3,01,794 (3.01 lakh) doses of PCV with the State of Maharashtra", Health Ministry clarified.
"Further, as per the HMIS data of Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, in the period January 2022 to September 2022, a total of 3,27,67,028 (3.27 crore) doses of PCV supplied by the Union Government have been utilised by all the States and UTs. This includes 18,80,722 (18.80 lakh) doses of PCV utilised in the State of Maharashtra. The supplies against procurement of PCV for the year 2022-23 have also commenced to the States & UTs", said the ministry.
The ministry said that pneumonia is one of the major causes of child mortality and Government of India has taken proactive steps to effectively address this problem.
Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV) was introduced by Government of India in 2017 in a phased manner across the most affected five states of Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.
"Thereafter, the PCV under the Universal Immunization Programme (UIP) has been expanded throughout the country.
"The PCV is now an integral part of India's Universal Immunization Programme (UIP) and is available free of cost to the entire birth cohort of 27.1 million. It is given in three dose schedule (6 weeks, 14 weeks and booster at 9-12 months)", the ministry said.