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Health Experts Appeal For Vaccines To Be Added To National Immunization Programs

During a recent three-day Asian Vaccine Conference, health experts appealed to countries to add “under-utilised vaccines such as those of pneumococcal, haemophilus influenzae type-b (Hib), and rotavirus” into national immunization programs, the Nation reports.

“Every child needs to be protected and it’s their right (to be vaccinated),” Lulu Bravo, chairwoman of the Asian Strategic Alliance for Pneumococcal Disease Prevention, said.  She added that the policy would be consistent with the aim of a two-thirds reduction in child mortality by 2015 under the Millennium Development Goals, according to the Nation.

So far, 39 of 92 countries where the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine is sold have added it to their national immunization programs. The result of the vaccine being added to the U.S. national immunization program for children under age five in 2000 reduced the number of children infected from 80 per 100,000 to 4.6 in 2003, the Nation reports. Hong Kong will become the first country in the Asia-Pacific region to add the vaccine as part of its national immunization program, beginning in September.

“Vaccines cannot be considered as ‘costs’ but ‘investments’ to create quality children for a country’s future,” Bravo said (Boonroj, 8/28).