Immunization is one of the most well-known and effective methods of preventing childhood diseases. With the implementation of the Universal Immunization Programme (UIP) by the Government of India, significant achievements have been made in preventing and controlling vaccine-preventable diseases (VPDs). Introduction of pentavalent vaccine will further reduce the incidence of pneumonia and meningitis caused by Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) bacteria.
The Government of India has decided to introduce pentavalent vaccine in the national immunization programme in selected states. Pentavalent vaccine provides protection to a child from 5 life-threatening diseases â€" Diphtheria, Pertussis, Tetanus, Hepatitis B and Hib. DPT (Diptheria+Pertussis+Tetanus) and Hep B are already part of routine immunization in India; Hib vaccine is a new addition. Together, the combination is called Pentavalent.
Hib vaccine can prevent serious diseases caused by Haemophilus influenzae type b like pneumonia, meningitis, bacteremia, epiglottitis, septic arthritis etc. Giving pentavalent vaccine reduces the number of pricks to a child, and provides protection from all five diseases.
Important things to remember:
The pentavalent vaccine will replace the current Hepatitis B and DPT primary vaccination schedule in the immunization programme. Additionally,
- Hepatitis B birth dose will continue as before, in institutional birth within 24 hours of birth.
- DPT boosters at 16-24 months and 5-6 years will continue as before.
The following is the revised immunization schedule:
|BCG, Hep B birth dose, OPV-O||At Birth|
|Pentavalent (DPT + Hep B + Hib), OPV||6 weeks, 10 weeks and 14 weeks|
|Measles and Vitamin A||9-12 months|
|DPT booster, OPV booster, Measles2||16-24 months|
|DPT booster||5-6 years|