PUNE: Currently, only around around 60 per cent on the population in the State are covered under the immunisation programme, said members of Pune chapter of Indian Academy of Paediatrics.
The doctors were interacting on the occasion of World Immunization Week, which started from Tuesday and ends on April 28.
Speaking about the need for immunisation for pneumonia, Dr Sanjay Lalwani, Medical Director of Bharati Vidyapeeth Hospital and President of Indian Academy of Pediatrics, Pune chapter, said that last year the Union health ministry had introduced pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (vaccine for pneumonia) in states like Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, where the rate of mortality of children due to pneumonia is huge.
“In Maharashtra, too, around 28,000 children lose their lives due to pneumonia each year. Hence, the vaccine to fight pneumonia must also be introduced in Maharashtra in the next two years,” said Lalwani.
Lalwani further added that along with Maharashtra, the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine needs to slowly be introduced across the country as well. Dr Lalwani further said that for this vaccine to be introduced, the production of the vaccine needs to be increased along with other facilities of cold storage and logistics.
“For the vaccine to be affordable, it needs to be produced in a large quantity for which many Indian companies need to come forward,” he added.
Sharing his views, Dr Prakash Doke, another member of Indian Academy of Paediatrics, said that for introducing any vaccine under the immunisation programme across the State, a lot of analysis needs to be done on whether the vaccine causes any side effects or not.
“After analysing many such factors and getting relevant data on the concerns related to the growth of the respective disease, only then can a vaccine be introduced. Pneumonia continues to be a major cause of death of children under five years in Maharashtra and it is time for the government to introduce the pneumococcal vaccine in Maharashtra soon,” Doke further added.