Universal Immunization Programme

Universal Immunization Programme: In 1974, the WHO initiated a global immunization programme called the ‘Expanded Immunization Programme’ to protect against six preventable diseases: diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus, polio, measles and tuberculosis.

The Extended Immunization Programme was implemented in January 1978. In 1985, the compulsory immunization programme was initiated. This scheme is also known as universal child immunization.

Universal Immunization Programme and its Functioning

On November 19th 1985, the Universal Immunization Programme was launched in India. In 1986, the programme was granted the status of a National Technology Mission to provide a sense of urgency and dedication within the particular timeframe to achieve the objectives. The 1992 Child Survival and Safe Motherhood Programme and the 1997 Child Health Reproductive Programme were launched.

On 11th June 2000, the Government of India established a National Technical Committee on Child Health.

On 28th August 2001, a National Technical Advisory Group of Immunization was set up by the Department of Family Welfare. In National Population Policy 2000, a national socio-demographic objective was set to achieve universal immunization of children against all vaccine-preventable diseases by 2010 (Table.1).

Table.1: Immunization of Children’s of Different Age group

Bacillus calmette-Guerin, Oral PolioBirth
Diphtheria PertunnisTetamas, Oral Polio6 Week
Diphtheria Pertussis Tetanus, Oral Polio10 Weeks
Diphtheria Pertussis Tetanus, Oral Polio14 weeks
Measles9 Months

One of the main public health services in India is the universal immunization programme. With a functioning national regulatory body, India is the largest producer of vaccines. The National Rural Health Mission programme is centrally funded. In India, UIP has targeted approximately 26 million infants and 30 million pregnant women.

With 100 per cent domestic funding, all vaccines are procured by the central government.

Schedule of Universal Immunization Programme

The vaccines recommended by the Government of India under the expanded immunization programme are the minimum vaccines that an Indian child should receive. It contains three doses of tetanus toxoid for mother and infant. The baby is vaccinated against seven killer preventable diseases after birth, including the oral polio vaccine, BCG (against tuberculosis), DPT vaccine, hepatitis B and the measles vaccine (Table.2 and 3).

Table.2: EPI Schedule Recommended by Government of India

Birth to 15 dayBCG + OPVC zero dose+ Hep. B1
6-8 weeksOPV1+ DPT1+ Hep. B2
10-12 weeksOPV2 + DPT2
14-16 weeksOPV3+ DPT3
6 monthsHep.B6
9 monthsMeasles
15-18 monthsFirst Booster of OPV/DPT
4-6 yearsDT vaccine
10 yearsTetanus toxoid
16 yearsTetanus toxoid

Table.3: Schedule of Vaccine Recommended by Indian Academy of Pediatrics

Birth to 15 dayBCG + OPVC zero dose + Hep B11st dose
6-8 weeksOPV1+ DPT1 + Hep B 2nd dose + Hib 1st dose
10-12 weeksOPV2 + DPT2+ Hep B 2nd dose
14-16 weeksOPV3+ DPT3 + Hep B 3rd dose
9 monthsMeasles
15-18 months1st Booster of OPV/DPT + Hib+ MMR
4-6 years2nd Booster of OPV + DPT
10 yearsTetanus toxoid
16 yearsTetanus toxoid

Strategies of Universal Immunization Programme

  1. Polio Eradication.
  2. Reducing the dropout rate.
  3. Strengthen institutional service at all levels.
  4. Strengthen coordination.
  5. Strengthening micro-planning process.
  6. Use of new or underutilized vaccines.
  7. Mass and mid-media campaign.
  8. Monitoring accountability and supportive supervision.
  9. Communication and social mobilization.
  10. Training and capacity building.

Objectives of Universal Immunization Programme

  • To increase the coverage of immunization.
  • To improve the quality of services.
  • To eradicate neonatal tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis by 2009.
  • To establish sufficient, sustainable and accountable fund flow at all levels.
  • Introduction of a district-wise monitoring and evaluation system.
  • To ensure that there is sustained demand and reduce social barriers to access immunization services.
  • To build reliable equipment for the cold chain and to develop a good surveillance network.
  • To achieve self-sufficiency in the development and manufacture of cold chain equipment for vaccine production.

Outcomes of Universal Immunization Programme

  • For infants, the likelihood of immunization is greater than in urban areas.
  • With the mother’s empowerment index, the probability of immunization increases.
  • For children in female-headed households, the probability of immunization is greater.
  • Children from electrically powered households are more likely to be immunized.
  • With the standard of living index of the children’s household, immunization probability increases.
  • The probability of vaccination rises with the level of education of mothers, the age of mothers up to 29 years, the exposure of mothers to mass media and the awareness of mothers about immunization.
  • Boys are more likely than girls to be immunized.
  • Muslim children are least likely to be immunized in various faiths, while children from Christian and other ethnic minority groups are most likely to be immunized.
  • Children are most likely to be immunized from the West Zone, North, East, South Central and North-East Zones.
  • Increases the opportunity to visit health professionals who help mothers to increase immunization awareness.
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