The Government of India is to use the Universal Immunization Programme mechanism to distribute covid-19 vaccines in the country. This was announced by the Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan during his address in the Lok Sabha.
Universal Immunization Programme
Under the Universal Immunization Programme, the Government of India provides several vaccines to infants, pregnant women, and children. This includes Bacillus Calmette Guerin (BCG) vaccine, oral polio vaccine, hepatitis vaccine, Diptheria, tetanus and rotavirus vaccines.
The program was launched in 1985. It aims to prevent mortality and morbidity e in pregnant women and children against 12 vaccine preventable diseases. The 12 vaccine preventable diseases are are tuberculosis, petrusis, Diphtheria, polio, tetanus, hepatitis, pneumonia, meningitis, Japanese encephalitis, measles, rubella and rotavirus.
The Mission was launched in December 2014. It aimed to fully immunize 89 lakh children in the country who are partially vaccinated or unvaccinated under the Universal Immunization Programme. The mission provides vaccination against seven diseases namely whooping cough, diphtheria, tetanus, tuberculosis, polio, Hepatitis and measles. The program is also providing vaccination against haemophilus influenza and Japanese encephalitis in certain districts of the country.
Under the mission the immunization coverage was increased to 6.7 % per year. Earlier it was 1 % per year.
Intensified mission indradhanush
The mission was launched in 2017 to reach children and pregnant women who were left out of the routine immunization programme being implemented in the country. The mission targeted on urban areas which was one of the major gaps of mission indradhanush. The areas under the mission were selected through data that were available under World Health Organisation, health management information system and national surveys.
COVID-19 vaccines in India
COVAXIN was the first covid-19 vaccine to enter into human trials in India. Recently, the Russian vaccine Sputnik V entered into human trials in India. Apart from these two vaccines the Oxford University vaccine is also under human trials in India.