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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 60  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 171-175

Challenges in new vaccine introduction in a national program in India

Consultant to Sabin Vaccine Institute, Washington, USA

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Dipika Sur
Translational Health Science and Technology Institute, NCR Biotech Science Cluster, 3rd Milestone, Faridabad-Gurgaon Expressway, PO box #04, Faridabad - 121 001 (Haryana)
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0019-557X.188995

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Vaccines have a long history dating back to the days of Edward Jenner (1749-1823) and Louis Pasteur (1822-1895). Vaccines can be viewed from a public health perspective as well as scientific perspective. Public health experts would focus epidemiological relevance, immunological competency, and technological feasibility. Scientists however will look for a good immune response as well as long-lived immunity, stability considerations, and safety issues such as danger of reversion to virulence. In India, the vaccine coverage is far from satisfactory, national average for full immunization being only 65%. Presently, nine vaccines are being used in the Universal Immunization Program. However, some more have started in pilot, and some are still in the pipeline. Although administrative, logistic and operational challenges have to be faced when introducing a new vaccine into the public health system; these are solvable and should not be a hindrance to the introduction. A real-life example of nonintroduction of a lifesaving vaccine is - the oral cholera vaccine. This vaccine which is manufactured and licensed in India has been the World Health Organization (WHO) prequalified, and it is being used worldwide. Although the disease is a major threat, the disease has its stigma and has led to its low reporting even from cholera endemic areas of the country. Thus, in spite of the WHO recommendations, the vaccine is not being introduced into the national program which would take it to people who need it the most only because of apparent lack of sufficient disease burden data and political commitment.

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