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Health minister launches pneumonia vaccine campaign for newborns across Jharkhand

The vaccine will help infant against Covid third wave and pneumonia: Banna 

Ranchi, June 17: State Health Minister Banna Gupta launched Jharkhand’s maiden pneumococcal conjugate vaccination (PCV) campaign on Thursday and said the immunisation programme for infants will work as a protective shield against Covid-19, but also help state’s improve on its Infant Mortality Rate (IMR).

In Jamshedpur East Singhbhum civil surgeon, Dr A. K Lal supervised the campaign at Sadar Hospital.

“The vaccination drive against pneumonia for newborns will prove to be a milestone in Jharkhand’s fight against Covid-19. By administering PCV (Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine) to our infants, we will not only protect them from pneumonia but also provide them a safety net against Covid-19 and also decrease IMR,” Gupta said while launching the immunisation programme online.

 “The health department has worked tirelessly to bring down the infant mortality rate from 34 to 30, whereas the national average is 33. Even in the maternal mortality rate the state figure has declined from 165 per lakh to only 76 whereas the national average is 122. This vaccine will further help us in bringing down the infant mortality rate in the state,” said Gupta.

The health minister claimed that patients of pneumonia and Covid-19 showed similar symptoms, and in some cases, Covid patients developed pneumonia, which proved fatal. The vaccination, he added, would boost immunity of children and protect them from several bacteria-borne diseases as well.

Gupta also urged Jharkhand residents not to panic if their infants had mild fever or body pain after immunisation. “Mild fever or body ache are common side effects of any vaccine. Please do not panic if your child has mild fever after the dose. Remember that the vaccine will protect them from many severe diseases,” he said.

“Pneumonia is the primary reason for the death of children below five years of age. In our state around 15 percent of children die of pneumonia annually. This drive will bring down this figure drastically” said Gupta.

He informed that PCV will be administered to infant below one years in duration of six weeks, 14 weeks and nine months free of cost as part of universal immunisation program of the Central government.

The government will provide PCV doses to children free of cost under its Universal Immunisation Programme in Jharkhand. So far, beneficiaries had to pay Rs 1,600 for each dose of the Pfizer-made vaccine available in the market, which mounted financial pressure on the people from rural Jharkhand.

 The state health department has set a target of administering nearly 8.50 lakh infants.

Gupta also urged Jharkhand residents not to panic if their infants had mild fever or body pain after immunisation. “Mild fever or body ache are common side effects of any vaccine. Please do not panic if your child has mild fever after the dose. Remember that the vaccine will protect them from many severe diseases,” he said.

At least 77,200 doses of PCV have been distributed among the 24 districts to run the immunisation programme, health officials said.

The vaccine doses will be administered at all government hospitals, Primary Health Centres (PHCs), Community Health Centres (CHCs) and other vaccination camps set up by the government. Parents of the beneficiaries will have to carry their Mother Child Protection (MCP) cards to the vaccination centres and get the jabs free of cost

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