The latest survey (July’17 - June’18) by the National Statistical Office finds that well over 90% of children in India are born in an “institution (a government or private facility). The proportion of children up to five years who have been fully immunized stagnates below 60%.
- The National Family Health Survey (NFHS) done in 2015-16 showed a similar level of immunization coverage (62%).
- The proportion of fully immunized children was just 58.4% in rural India and 61.7% in urban areas.
- In states like Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, which accounts for the highest number of children being born, the coverage is just 48% and 55%, respectively.
- The percentage of children who received any vaccination was over 97% - The BCG and one OPV dose are given at birth.
The Mission Indradhanush and The Intensified Mission Indradhanush-
- They were launched on December 25, 2014 (The Mission Indradhanush) and October 8, 2017 (The Intensified Mission Indradhanush).
- It is a special drive to reach those not covered by the routine immunization program.
- It focused on select districts and cities to achieve over 90% full immunization coverage by December 2018.
- Earlier, the target of the mission was to achieve this by 2020.
- While the increase in full immunization coverage was 1% per year earlier, this had shot up to 6.7% per year through the first two phases of Mission Indradhanush.
- Children were also given meningitis and Hepatitis B vaccines.
- In selected states, children were also given vaccines for Japanese encephalitis and haemophilus influenzae type B.
- In 2016, the health ministry added more vaccines against rubella, rotavirus and an injectable polio vaccine (IPB).
- In 2017, the mission added pneumococcal conjugate vaccine meant to prevent pneumonia to the universal immunization programme.
- A lack of progress in immunization coverage in the two intervening years(2016-2018). The coverage has been stagnant.
- It highlights the health system’s failure to track children born in hospitals to ensure their full immunization.
- The data on coverage does not match with the higher coverage(83%) data released earlier by the MoH&FW.
Working of vaccination:
- The human immune system is composed of various types of cells.
- These cells defend them against invaders. They remove harmful pathogens.
- Our immune system needs to recognise that an invader is dangerous.
- Vaccination let our immune system know how to recognize new diseases.
- It stimulates human bodies to make antibodies against antigens of pathogens.
- It also teaches the immune system to remember the antigens that cause infection.
- This further leads to a faster response to the same disease in the future.