Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Monday launched India’s first pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) with the aim of preventing about 67,800 children under 5 in India each year.

Health Minister launches India's first fully indigenous pneumococcal vaccine

“It is a matter of great pride for us that the pharmaceutical major developed the first indigenous vaccine and obtained a license for the same vaccine from the central government during the lockdown period of the COVID-19 pandemic. Pneumonia is the leading infectious cause of death in children under five worldwide, accounting for nearly 10 lakhs of deaths worldwide, ”

The vaccine is being developed by the Serum Institute of India (SII) in collaboration with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Pneumococcal disease is a major contributor to the under-five mortality rate worldwide.

Calling this as a step towards Atmanirbhar Bharat, Vardhan said that until now India has been completely dependent on PCV made by foreign manufacturers which is available at very high prices.

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