Pakistan becomes first country in the world to introduce a new typhoid vaccine in an effort to combat a drug-resistant strain of the potentially fatal disease in the Sindh province.
According to the details, health officials of Pakistan have reported an ongoing outbreak of an extensively drug-resistant typhoid fever that began in the country in November 2016.
The strain of Salmonella Typhi bacteria, which has become a so-called “superbug”, has so far infected around 11,000 people in the country, with Sindh province the worst-hit.
According to experts, death rates among those infected by the “superbug” could rise dramatically to as much as 20 percent.
Provincial government of Sindh is going to start a vaccination drive for children from November 18, in this regard to safe guard more than 15 million children in the province.
The typhoid conjugate vaccine (TCV) was introduced at a function in Karachi where Zafar Mirza, special assistant to the prime minister on health, and Azra Fazal Pechuho, provincial minister of health, were present.
Pakistan has become the first country in the world to introduce TCV into its routine immunization programme through a campaign mode in Sindh, Mirza said.
The vaccine, approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2018, will initially be used during a two-week immunization campaign staring from November 18 to November 30 in the urban areas of Sindh.
Later, the government would expand it to the rest of the country on the basis of a phased national introduction strategy, Mirza said.
Health officials said the government introduced the vaccine in Sindh province in a response to an outbreak of typhoid since November 2016 which affected a large number of children.
Mirza said in 2017, 63 percent of typhoid cases and 70 percent of typhoid deaths in Pakistan were among children aged below 15 years.
“Children are disproportionately affected by typhoid and its associated complications, and we strongly believe that TCV would protect our children against the potentially fatal disease of typhoid,” he said.