The State government has taken up with the Centre, the issue of shortfall in the supply of Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccines (PCV), administered to protect children from pneumonia, as it has received not even half of the State’s requirements for this year.
“We have been told that there are constraints in production. But we have requested the Union government to expedite the supply of the balance portion,” said an official in Chennai.
An integral part of the country’s universal immunisation programme (UIP) now, the vaccine is available free of cost in the country. It is given in three dose schedules: at 6 weeks, 14 weeks and a booster at 9-12 months. In Tamil Nadu, it is provided to children through government hospitals and primary health centres.
Since April, the State has received about 12.5 lakh doses of the vaccine including 2.3 lakh doses in November. The annual requirement is 30 lakh doses. “Only this year, we are having such a problem,” pointed out the official, adding that the State government is not aware of the reasons behind the problem.
Asked why the State government is not making steps to procure the vaccine through the private sector, the official said that when the vaccine was supplied to States free, there was no point in making attempts to buy from the private sector. Besides, the cost of the vaccine is prohibitive as it ranges from ₹2,000 to ₹ 3,800 per dose.