The very first indigenous vaccine of India was BCG which was developed in 1962 as a part of the National Tuberculosis Program. It was during 1972 that WHO launched the Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) in 1974. In India, EPI was launched in 1978 and it included BCG, typhoid and DPT vaccines.
This particular programme was re-launched under the name “Universal Immunization Program (UIP) in 1985. It was for the first time that the program focused on large scale immunization of all children and pregnant women. Measles was the new vaccine that was added to the list and typhoid vaccine was dropped.
In 1986, UIP was given the status of National Technology Mission.
Then this program became an integral part of the Reproductive and Child Health program in 1997.
Only 6 diseases were vaccinated under this plan.
In 1988, the polio eradication goal was undertaken by the GOI. The last wild polio virus case was reported in West Bengal on 13th January, 2011.
Polio was completely eradicated from India in 2012. India has been subsequently removed from the endemic list and is now polio free.
To achieve this, about 177.4 crore children received the polio vaccine doses.
In 2006, the new vaccine for Hepatitis B and Japanese Encephalitis was introduced.
In December 2011, a pentavalent vaccine was innovated that included DPT, Hepatitis B and Influenza type B vaccine.
In December 2014, the GOI launched the Mission Indradhanush program aiming at 100% immunization of all children up to 2 years along with pregnant women.
The vaccines are made available free of cost to the children and women.
Now, India has been ahead of many countries with its COVID-19 vaccine approval “Covaxin” developed by Bharat Biotech.
India is heading towards strengthening its vaccination schedules, monitoring and storage. It has now strated investing in research and development amid the recent pandemic that hit the world.