ISLAMABAD: The government of Pakistan is all-set to launch the World Health Organization (WHO) pre-qualified typhoid conjugate vaccine (TCV) campaign in Sindh province from 18-30 November leading into a country-wide outreach and ultimately into routine immunization.
A total number of 8128 teams working out of 462 Union Councils (UCs) throughout Sindh will administer the vaccine to children between 9 months to 15 years of age and will target 10.1 million children; this figure includes 4.7 million children in Karachi alone. This information was disclosed by Dr. Akram Sultan, Project Director, Sindh EPI (Expanded Program on Immunization) while giving a talk to the media recently.
This is a phased national introduction. After first being introduced in Sindh Province, which is the center of an ongoing extensively drug-resistant (XDR) typhoid outbreak, the vaccine will next be introduced in Punjab Province next year and then nationally in 2021.
Typhoid, a serious illness caused by Salmonella Typhi, is spread through contaminated food and water. Prevention through vaccination is one of the most effective solutions to reduce the burden of typhoid in endemic areas. In addition, WASH solutions (e.g. water, sanitation, and hygiene) should be promoted alongside TCV introduction.
More than 15,000 people have been affected in the current outbreak, the first-ever reported outbreak of ceftriaxone-resistant typhoid.
This TCV is a safe and effective vaccine prequalified and recommended by the World Health Organization. It is a one-dose vaccine, injected intramuscularly, that is expected to provide long lasting immunity in adults, children, and infants six months of age and older. WHO has recommended the TCV vaccine for use in all typhoid-endemic countries because of its higher efficacy compared to previously used typhoid vaccines.