Vaccine against pneumococcal infections to be given for free to kids under 1: BMC

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Mumbai, Jul 7 (PTI) The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Wednesday said it is soon going to administer Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV) to children below one year of age to protect them from pneumococcal infections.

According to a BMC release, the vaccine is useful for protecting children from pneumonia and pneumococcal diseases and it will be given free at the civic body's health centres, dispensaries and hospitals.

Pneumococcal infections are caused by the bacterium streptococcus pneumoniae and can lead to pneumonia, blood poisoning (sepsis) and meningitis.

'The number of children under the age of one in the BMC's jurisdiction is more than 1.5 lakh. All these children will benefit from this vaccine,' said Suresh Kakani, additional municipal commissioner.

The PCV vaccine will be given in three doses - two primary doses at 6 weeks of age, 14 weeks and one booster dose at 9 months of age, according to the BMC.

Under the extended vaccination programme, vaccines for prevention of diseases like BCG, polio, whooping cough, tetanus, hepatitis-B, H influenza-B, rotavirus, measles, rubella were being given, but now as per a directive of the Maharashtra government PCV has been added in the list, the civic body said.

According to the BMC, in 2010, approximately one lakh children below the age of five died due to pneumococcal disease, while 5 to 6 lakh kids were infected by it the same year.

Pneumococcal is a lung disease caused because of infection from streptococcus pneumonia bacterias. The disease causes difficulty in breathing, shortness of breath, fever and coughing. If the infection is severe, it can lead to death from meningitis, pneumonia and septicemia, the BMC said.

It said the Government of India has made PCV available under the public immunization programme to protect children from pneumococcal diseases. PTI KK RSY RSY

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