JSI Staff Contributes to New Article on Rotavirus Vaccines India

September 5th, 2019 | News

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In 2016, India became one of the first countries in Asia to introduce an indigenously manufactured rotavirus vaccine. However, any new vaccine introduction needs to be meticulously planned to allow for the strengthening of the existing immunization systems instead of burdening them. 

The process of Rotavirus Vaccine Introduction (RVVI) in India started with the establishment of the National Rotavirus Surveillance Network in 2005 which generated relevant evidence to inform policy-level decisions to introduce the vaccine. The preparatory activities started with an assessment of health systems and closing any gaps. This was followed by the development of vaccine-specific training packages and cascade training for program managers and health workers. The introduction was complemented with strong communications systems and media involvement to allow for good acceptability of the vaccine on the ground. Each step of introduction was led by the government and technically supported by development partners.

Under the RVVI project (2015-16), supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, JSI provided technical support for rotavirus vaccine introduction in Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, and Odisha states. JSI continues to provide technical support to national and state teams on all aspects of rotavirus vaccine introduction, including the development of operational guidelines and training materials, capacity building of medical officers and health workers, cold chain assessment, vaccine logistics management, adverse events following immunization (AEFI) preparedness, coverage monitoring, and post-introduction evaluation.

India introduced the rotavirus vaccine in a phased wise manner. In the first two phases, the vaccine has been introduced in nine states of the country accounting for nearly 35% of the annual birth cohort of the country. From March 2016 to November 2017, approximately 13,260,000 rotavirus vaccine doses were administered in the country. Currently, RVVI has been scaled-up to be introduced to all the remaining states. By October 2019, the rotavirus vaccine introduction will reach the entire country of India. The vaccine was well accepted by both the health workers and parents/ caregivers.

Introducing rotavirus vaccine in the Universal Immunization Programme in India: From evidence to policy to implementation, Elsevier,Volume 37, Issue 39, September 2019.

 

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