The Government of India will introduce the Rotavirus vaccine in its routine immunization program from March 2016 onward. The program aims to protect children from diarrhea and thereby saving around 50000 lives every year from the disease. C. K. Mishra, Additional Health Secretary said, the introduction will be launched in the four states of Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Odisha.
The Center also plans to launch a three year long anti measles rubella (MR) campaign next year at a cost of 1500 crore. This hopes to save children in the age group of nine months to fifteen years from every type of measles.
“Apart from 1.50 children who die due to diarrhea, at least two to three times of the children suffer from the disease. It not just the deaths that will be prevented but the whole gamut of diarrhea-controlling exercise,” the Secretary said.
Earlier in March, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched the vaccine Rotavac, indigenously developed by the Hyderabad based Bharat Biotech. The company has invested about 500 crores of rupees towards the development of the vaccine. The vaccine is considered to be the cheapest one developed so far. It costs Rs. 200 for the required three doses, which is far lower than the vaccine produced by two multinationals that cost Rs. 1000 for a single dose.
Rotavirus is a common virus causing diarrhea among infants and children across the world. Diarrhoea also has high morbidity rate which will be controlled with the rotavirus dose. Rotavirus diarrhea causes annually over 450,000 deaths worldwide, including 110,000 deaths in India.