India: Shortage of hep B vaccine derails plans to bring it under universal immunisation
The shortage of hepatitis B vaccine has derailed the plans of the Union health ministry to bring it under the universal immunisation programme (UIP) across the country from April this year.
Sources in the health ministry said it could not be implemented due to the severe shortage of vaccine for hep B in the country. In 2002, the government of India decided to provide hepatitis-B vaccine as a pilot in 33 districts and 14 cities. In 2007, hepatitis B vaccine was expanded to cover 10 states and five UTs beside the districts already covered in other states.
“It has been decided to expand hepatitis B vaccination to the entire country under the Universal Immunization Programme (UIP) in 2011. However due to shortage of vaccines, universal expansion has not taken place,” an official said.
The plan of the ministry was to cover all children born in India with a shot against hepatitis B, which caused 80 per cent of all liver cancer and about one per cent of adult deaths. Annually, India records 26 million births. At present, these children are given diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus (DPT) vaccine shots along with BCG, measles and oral polio vaccine under NIP annually.
To achieve the target, the ministry had started procuring the vaccines as around 100 million doses were required to roll out the programme across the country by April, but could not procure enough. Till now, hep B vaccination was being done only in 10 high performing states like Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Punjab and West Bengal.
Meanwhile, sources added that there was no shortage as such for other vaccines used under the UIP “Some States have reported some temporarily shortage of vaccines. The State Government of Punjab reported shortage of Hepatitis B vaccine from May to mid August, 2011, Haryana reported shortage of DPT (Diphtheria, Pertussis and Tetanus Toxoid) from 13-10-10 to 18-11-10 and TT from 18-6-10 to 12-7-10 at the State store and Uttar Pradesh reported short supply of OPV (Oral Polio Vaccine) in May & June 11 and of Bacillus Calmette Guerin (BCG) in June and August 11,” sources added.
“To meet the requirement of vaccines, procurement is made from Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) as well as indigenous private sector units through a competitive bidding process. Supply orders for all the UIP vaccines have already been placed and procurement process has been initiated well in advance to obviate any shortage of vaccines,” the official said.http://bit.ly/rdXK8f