PATH congratulates India on nationwide pneumococcal vaccine introduction

November 16, 2021 by PATH

Routine childhood immunization with pneumococcal vaccines is a critical step in India's fight against pneumonia and other pneumococcal diseases.

PATH welcomes the recent news that India has completed national pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) introductions in every state as part of its Universal Immunization Program. PCVs are important tools for reducing childhood deaths and illness from pneumonia—the #1 infectious killer before age five in India and the world. Helping make this milestone possible is a more affordable, locally produced PCV developed by the Serum Institute of India, Pvt. Ltd. in collaboration with PATH.

“We applaud efforts by the Government of India, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and other partners that led to this incredible accomplishment,” says Neeraj Jain, country director of PATH India and director, South Asia. “Now protection can be within reach for nearly all of India’s children against pneumococcal disease—a leading cause of deadly childhood pneumonia as well as meningitis, sepsis, and debilitating otitis media."

The pathway to India’s success has included Gavi-supported phased PCV rollouts beginning in 2017 and the 2020 market entry of Serum Institute’s PCV, PNEUMOSIL®, which provides disease coverage comparable to other PCVs at a lower price point.

“Price and supply barriers have historically hindered PCV rollouts and contributed to inequitable access in many countries around the world, including India,” states Mark Alderson, director of PATH’s pneumococcal vaccine project. “PATH is thrilled that adding PNEUMOSIL to India’s PCV toolkit has helped public health and Gavi funds go farther to close access gaps and reach children previously unreached.”

PNEUMOSIL is being made available to low- and middle-income economies for just US$2 per dose—a price roughly 30% less than Gavi prices for other PCVs and substantially less for non-Gavi countries. It is the newest PCV to be World Health Organization prequalified, licensed in India, and supplied via Gavi’s pneumococcal Advance Market Commitment financing mechanism that supports PCV access for low-income economies.