Three years after the national vaccine advisory body recommended the introduction of the measles-rubella vaccine (MR) in the Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP), the vaccine is all set to be introduced from next month in five states and Union territories as a part of the basket of preventive medications that every child born in India is entitled to. In addition, from March, Pneumococcal conjugate (pneumococcal pneumonia) vaccine will also become a part of the UIP basket in three other states.
The UIP basket already has ten vaccines of which measles is one; once MR is introduced, monovalent measles will be discontinued. Both the new vaccines will be launched by Health Minister J P Nadda in separate programmes. While the MR vaccine will be introduced in Goa, Karnataka, Lakshadweep, Puducherry and Tamil Nadu between February 3 and 4, the pneumonia vaccine will be introduced in Himachal Pradesh and parts of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar from March 17.
Commonly known as German Measles, congenital rubella infection is believed to affect approximately 25,000 children born in India every year. Symptoms of the infection can include cataracts and deafness. It can also affect the heart and the brain.