Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan launched India’s first pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) also known as pneumonia vaccine on 28th December.
The pneumococcal conjugate vaccine is developed by the Serum Institute of India (SII) in association with PATH and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The vaccine will be available in the market with the name ”Pneumosil” in single dose as well as multidose vials.
The PCV vaccine will give long-lasting protection to children against life-threatening pneumococcal diseases such as pneumonia, sepsis and meningitis which is caused by the bacterium Streptococcus pneumoniae. Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine will help to prevent the death of around 68,000 children caused due to pneumococcal diseases every year in India.
During the vaccine launch, Dr Harsh Vardhan said that India was totally dependent on foreign manufacturers for pneumococcal conjugate vaccine which are available at high rates. Now, the vaccine launch is a step towards the “ATMANIRBHAR BHARAT” and “VOCAL FOR LOCAL” initiatives, which are formulated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is a great achievement for the public health care which will make sure the children are protected better against Pneumococcal disease with an affordable and high-quality vaccine.
Dr Harsh Vardhan also said that Pneumosil was given to adults, toddlers and infants in 5 controlled clinical trials for evaluation and the vaccine was found to be safe and effective in the prevention of pneumococcal disease.
Dr Harsh Vardhan also appreciated Serum Institute of India for developing the first indigenous vaccine and encouraged it to produce more life-saving vaccines in the future.
Serum Institute of India is the world’s largest vaccine producer by doses and its vaccines are used in 170 countries to immunize people. SII will contribute to the growth of Indian economy.
Adar Poonawalla, CEO of SII said that PCV has a unique composition depending on the serotype commonly found in India which makes PCV highly effective against pneumococcal disease. We also ensure the sustainable accessibility of the high-grade vaccine at an affordable price which helps to reduce the death rate significantly.
Pneumococcal disease is a major cause of death in children under five years of age, contributing to 1 million deaths in children each year worldwide. Due to the widespread fatality rate, WHO introduced the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine in routine infant immunization programs in all countries in 2018.