PR No.280 Pakistan To Introduce Rotavirus Vaccine For Diarrhea In Routine Immunization, National Program Manager, EPI Islamabad

Today in a Provincial Consultative meeting held at Federal EPI office, a comprehensive briefing on the Rotavirus vaccine application was given by the National Program Manager, EPI. During the presentation, Dr. Syed Saqlain Ahmed Gilani, National Program Manager highlighted that globally 700,000 children under five die of diarrhea while rotavirus kills more than 197,000 (28%) children. In Pakistan rotavirus is responsible for sever gastrointestinal infections in every 1 out of 3 children. The meeting was attended by provincial/ areas EPI managers and development partners.

Dr. Saqlain Gilani while presenting the main features of the rotavirus vaccine application shared that NITAG had recommended introduction of rotavirus vaccine in 2011 and 2016. Ministry of NHSRC had also expressed country’s interest for introduction of rotavirus vaccine in NICC meeting in held in 2015. “The Government of Pakistan has decided to submit an application for rotavirus vaccine introduction to GAVI in May 2016”, stated Dr. Saqlain Ahmed Gilani during his presentation.

Discussing the requirements of the rotavirus vaccine application, NPM expressed that a storage capacity analysis up to district level needed while requirement of an additional cold chain capacity from province to district level is also required. Rotavirus disease burden and surveillance mechanism is also a need for the preparation. Development of M&E plan, HSS monitoring framework and GAVI performance framework finalization is also underway. Maintaining a balance of gender and equity and increased immunization coverage is also a requirement for the rotavirus vaccine application.

Dr. Gilani apprised the participants that a working group has been constituted to develop a comprehensive rotavirus vaccine application. The meeting agreed to inoculate 2 doses of rotavirus vaccine to a child in the Routine Immunization schedule.