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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Is the Pneumococcal vaccine necessary?

I have been approached by many patients in Mumbai, India, where I practise, as to whether one must give the Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (prevenar) or may one skip it on account of its extremely high cost (it costs Rs. 4000/= or nearly 105 US dollars per dose). Well, let me say that while the vaccine is indeed costly, the Government of India, along with the Bill Gates Foundation and GAVI are trying to make this vaccine universally available through its primary immunisation programme. Whether or not this actually happens, the PCV is, as of today, a most important vaccine in the armamentarium of pediatricians and patients' parents to keep their child free from deadly diseases like pnuemonia and pneumococcal meningitis.

I suggest that patients go for the vaccine if they can afford it. I am even willing to foot about Rs. 200/= per patient if they cannot afford the full amount. However, the final decision is theirs and theirs alone. This is because, in the primary series, three such doses need to be given. Additionally, the child will need a booster after 15 months. Hence, the total schedule will cost Rs. 16000/=, a not so small amount for a middle-class person.

In short: Take it if you can afford it.

See this link for more on the vaccine: Click Here or here.

Read this excellent discussion on the PCV: Click this.

Great Offer

Dr. Fuhrman

Dr. Fuhrman