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Trends and determinants of immunisation coverage in India.

  • Suresh, K
  • Saxena, D
Published Article
Journal of the Indian Medical Association
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2000
PMID: 11016138


The 20th century has witnessed many important events in the control of infectious diseases that mostly affect children. In addition to the eradication of smallpox, the interruption of poliomyelitis transmission in many countries with a distinct possibility of its eradication by the turn of this century are some of the major achievements. Also, the rates of other vaccine preventable diseases such as measles, pertussis and diphtheria have gone down significantly. The discovery and use of vaccines have made it possible to save approximately 8 million deaths, annually. This is in addition to the reduction in millions of children's suffering and disability. It is now important to build on these gains through adequate utilisation of other vaccines e.g., hepatitis B, typhoid and Haemophilus influenzae type b that are currently available, but in limited use. But, a high level of coverage for any vaccination programme is a pre-requisite to witness the effective reduction of the specific disease against which child population is vaccinated. This paper reviews the coverage levels by surveys in the last 3 years. It has been observed that vaccination coverage levels are falling. Keeping the promises of immunising every child to fulfill his/her right is the need of the hour. To achieve this the major action points are: (a) The need for organising fixed immunisation sessions at the community, where low proportion of sessions are held; and (b) The need to improve demand generation activities where the coverage is poor despite better service availability at the community level. Therefore, the challenge for the next century is to make sure that the enormous impact of vaccines on the health and well-being of the population is maintained as well as expanded. Vaccines that effectively prevent rotavirus diarrhoea, pneumococcal pneumonia, menigococcal meningitis, if made available, could prevent deaths up to two million a year. Research efforts are currently under progress to develop new vaccines against malaria, tuberculosis, shigella-induced dysentery, and Esch coli-induced diarrhoea.

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