Context: As India pledged $15 million to the Gavi alliance, recently Prime Minister said that the country stood with the world in these challenging times.

More on the news:

  • The prime minister was addressing the virtual Global Vaccine Summit.
    • The UK-hosted Global Vaccine Summit heralds a new era of global health cooperation as world leaders show overwhelming commitment to equitable immunization coverage and global health security in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • PM Addressed various heads of state, Ministers, business leaders, U.N. agencies, and civil society of over 50 countries.

Key highlights of PM’s speech

  • India’s civilization teaches us to see the world as one family and that during this pandemic it had tried to live up to this teaching.
  • PM also highlighted that the coronavirus pandemic has exposed the limitations of global cooperation and that for the first time in recent history, humankind faces a clear common enemy.
  • He has reiterated that India stands in solidarity with the world along with its proven capacity to produce quality medicines and vaccines at low cost, its own domestic experience in rapidly expanding immunization, and its considerable scientific research talent.
  • PM highlighted that India not only has the capacity to contribute to global health efforts but also has the will to do so in a spirit of sharing and caring.

Response by India so far

  • Assistance to the world
    • India has shared its stocks of medicines with over 120 countries
    • It has also set up a common response strategy in its immediate neighborhood and provided specific help to countries in need while protecting its own population.for eg, COVID-19 Emergency Fund.
  • Immunization drive
    • India has understood the importance of immunization since it has a huge population and limited health facilities. 
    • India has already added six vaccines to its National Immunization Programme to expand protection.
    • The vaccine supply chain had been digitized and an electronic intelligence network had been developed to monitor the integrity of the cold chain.
  • Role as producer of vaccine
    • India is also the world’s foremost producer of vaccines and it contributes to the immunization of about 60% of the world’s children. 
  • Assistance to Gavi
    • India recognizes and values the work of Gavi, that is why it became a donor to Gavi while still being eligible for Gavi support.
    • The support was not just financial but also in terms of its huge demand that brings down prices of vaccines globally. This had saved Gavi almost $400 million over the past five years.

About GAVI – The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations

  • The GAVI Alliance (formerly the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation) is a global health partnership of public and private sector organizations dedicated to “immunization for all”. 
  • It provides a unique opportunity for a wide range of partners to build consensus around policies, strategies, and priorities and to recommend the responsibility of the implementation to the partner with the most experience and insight in the area. 
  • It has developed innovative approaches to international health and development.
  • GAVI’s strategy supports its mission to save children’s lives and protect people’s health by increasing access to immunization in poor countries.


India’s immunization drive

Universal Immunization Programme (UIP)

  • Launched by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India in 1985, UIP prevents mortality and morbidity in children and pregnant women against 12 vaccine-preventable diseases.
  • Under UIP free of cost vaccination is provided against twelve vaccine-preventable diseases i.e. Tuberculosis, Diphtheria, Pertussis, Tetanus, Polio, Hepatitis B, Pneumonia and Meningitis due to Haemophilus Influenzae type b (Hib), Measles, Rubella, Japanese Encephalitis (JE) and Rotavirus diarrhea.

Mission Indradhanush

  • In order to give maximum protection to the children against Vaccine-Preventable Diseases (VPDs), the Government of India has launched ‘Mission Indradhanush’ in December 2014 to increase full immunization coverage in India to at least 90% children by December 2018.
  • It aims to ensure full vaccination of the country’s children and pregnant women, including those in the remote parts of the vast nation.
  • Mission Indradhanush provides vaccination against 7 diseases: diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus, polio, tuberculosis, measles, and hepatitis B.
  • In addition, vaccination against Japanese Encephalitis and Haemophilus influenza type B is being provided in selected districts of the country. Vaccination against tetanus is also provided to the pregnant women.

Intensified Mission Indradhanush

  • The Intensified Mission Indradhanush (IMI) has been launched by the Government of India in 2017 to reach each and every child under two years of age and all those pregnant women who have been left uncovered under the routine immunization program.
  • The target under IMI is to increase the full immunization coverage to 90% by December 2018.
  • Under Intensified Mission Indradhanush, greater focus was given on urban areas which was one of the gaps of Mission Indradhanush.