Dengue vaccination will be introduced in India early next year on a demonstration basis in areas where the prevalence is high, a senior official of the Indian Council of Medical Research said here on Monday.
A serosurvey (a test of blood serum from a group of individuals) in this connection has been done recently in more than 15 states including West Bengal, and the report was published in the medical journal, Lancet Global Health, the official said.
“As soon as we get the approval (from the government), as soon as all permissions and documentations are done properly, we will launch the dengue vaccine in India, ICMR Director General Prof (Dr) Balram Bhargava said.
“We are looking at the use of demonstration projects for the dengue vaccine for the future in areas of high prevalence,” Bhargava said.
He said the move could be perceived as slow but it would be systematic.
“We have collaborated with the US because we go by the book and go systematic. That’s why we don’t want to rush,” the secretary to the department of health research, ministry of health and family welfare said.
India will adopt the ways Sri Lanka has dealt with dengue and the country is set to enter into a collaboration with the island nation for the same.
India is in the final phase of signing a collaboration with Sri Lanka as their dengue programme has been “exemplary”, he said.
“They (Sri Lanka) have done the best as far as dengue is concerned. They have a very high incidence of dengue yet zero mortality,” said Bhargava who is here to attend an inaugural programme of India’s first National Antimicrobial Resistance Hub.
On the high numbers of dengue deaths in West Bengal, he said, “We have to remember that the disease outbreak follows a pattern. We have to look at the map where it is very high.”
Over 10 people have died and around 3000 have been diagnosed with dengue in West Bengal in recent times, a health department official said.
Dengue deaths in West Bengal have been quite high for the last five years despite the state government’s initiatives to control the vector-borne disease.