Panaji: The state directorate of health services (DHS) is expected to introduce a new vaccine—pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV)—in the state in April. On Monday, the DHS signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) for procurement of PCV.
A DHS official said the orders have been placed for procuring the vaccine and payment has also been made.
“With the introduction of PCV, the state will complete covering 12 vaccine-preventable diseases under the universal immunization program (UIP). It will be administered in three doses,” she said, adding that shipments are expected to arrive in a month or two.
The cost to the government for procuring vaccines will be Rs 1.2 crore. This has been in line with the Union ministry of health and family welfare’s request to facilitate the procurement of PCV for Goa at the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI) price.
Unicef officials will arrive in Goa to examine the cold storage facility for the vaccines. The new vaccine however, will be released for use only after it has been tested. “Testing will be carried out by Unicef itself,” she said.
The DHS official added that they have appropriate storage facility and with regards to storage of other vaccines too, proper precautions are taken. Temperature monitoring is done to optimize vaccine potency and spoiled ones are discarded.
The PCV has already been introduced in some northern states with a high mortality rate. “The Goa government has taken the initiative to introduce PCV on its own and will pay from its pocket,” she said. In December, the cabinet gave its nod to singing the MoU with Unicef.-Times Of India