High Cost Is the Primary Barrier Reported by Physicians Who Prescribe Vaccines Not Included in India's Universal Immunization Program
Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib) vaccine, pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) and rotavirus (RV) vaccine are available in the private market
in India, but, except for Hib in eight states, are not included in India’s Universal Immunization Program (UIP). Pediatricians
were surveyed about administering non-UIP vaccines. Most give these vaccines to some of their patients (73–83%, depending
on vaccine), but few give them to all patients (7–18%). High cost was the most frequently cited barrier (93–96%). Only 10–12%
of respondents had concerns about the efficacy of PCV or RV vaccine, and concerns about Hib vaccine efficacy or any vaccine
safety issues were rare (1–3%). Practice varied by type of healthcare facility, with pediatricians at government hospitals
least likely to administer non-UIP vaccines. Support for the inclusion of all three in the UIP was high (83–95%). Including
Hib vaccine, PCV and RV vaccine in India’s UIP would be supported by pediatricians and help eliminate the current barrier
of high cost of these immunizations.
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