Another step forward towards saving children

Bangladesh introduced vaccine against Pneumonia in the national immunisation programme

Bangladesh has introduced the Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV) in their Expanded Programme of Immunisation (EPI). It was officially declared  yesterday at a launching event held at Dhaka Shishu Hospital.

Pneumonia is an inflammatory condition of the lung affecting primarily the microscopic air sacs known as alveoli. It is usually caused by infection with bacteria (most common), viruses and some other reasons.

The vaccine which will be available in EPI schedule of Bangladesh is a vaccine effective only against 10 serotypes of bacteria causing Pneumonia, whereas there are approximately 50 other serotypes. But this vaccine will provide almost 50% coverage against the most prevalent Pneumonia cases.

This means by introducing the vaccine, Pneumonia will not be eliminated completely, but the mortality and morbidity will be decreased by a great extent. As the Pneumonia causing bacteria also cause Meningitis, the vaccine will also be effective to reduce the number of Meningitis cases.

Prof Samir Saha, Head of Department of Microbiology and Executive Director of Child Health Research Foundation (CHRF) said "This is a great achievement of the Government of Bangladesh — they introduced Hib vaccine in last tenure and brought Pneumonia vaccine this time."

Prof Saha, who is also a member of Pneumococcal Awareness Council of Experts (PACE) expressed, "This is the second vaccine which has been introduced completely based on the evidence from this country. But the evidence already generated from Bangladesh is not enough. We all should be vigilant to see how the non vaccine serotypes behave in near future."

He also informed that they will further work on monitoring the impact of the vaccine.


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