India’s first indigenously created vaccine against Pneumococcal Disease

Ambili S Kartha
0 to 1 years

Created by Ambili S Kartha
Updated on Nov 12, 2020

Indias first indigenously created vaccine against Pneumococcal Disease
Reviewed by Expert panel

In the recent news, while presenting the 2021-22 Union Budget in Feb 2021, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has made an announcement that the Pneumococcal Vaccine will be rolled out across the country. The vaccine, also known as Pneumonia vaccine provides protection against serious and potentially fatal pneumococcal infections. The Union Finance Minister has further added that this step will avert more than 50,000 child deaths annually. The infections are caused by the bacterium Streptococcus pneumoniae and can lead to pneumonia, septicaemia which is a kind of blood poisoning and meningitis. The  pneumococcal conjugate vaccine  ( PCV)) would be used to treat pneumonia in children and has been developed by Pune-based Serum Institute of India. This is India's first indigenously developed pneumococcal vaccine. Serum Institute of India is the world's largest vaccine manufacturer by doses and is also the maker of Covishield, the Coronavirus vaccine. Serum's PCV will be available at an affordable price in single dose (vial and prefilled syringe) and multidose (vial) presentations. 

Schedule for Pneumococcal  Conjugate Vaccines - The  Indian  Academy of Pediatrics recommends 3 doses at 6, 10 and 14weeks with a booster at 15 mo.

Infants receiving their first dose at age <11 mo should receive 3 doses of PCV13 at intervals of approximately 4 weeks with a booster at 15 mo.

Also, learn about the  Next Pulse Polio Vaccination Date Schedule .

About Pneumonia

Pneumonia is a form of severe respiratory infection that can affect one or both lungs. Pneumonia is a serious life-threatening illness in newborns babies, toddlers. For the 6 to 9 percent of all stillborn or newborn infants, pneumonia is the main reason. Pneumonia stands for 13% of all contagious disease in infants before they turn two years. Continue reading to understand more facts about pneumonia, one of the most common infections to which the newborns child are susceptible.

How Pneumonia Occurs in Children?

Pneumonia occurs when the infection causing microbes get into the lungs. The lungs are comprised of little sacs called alveoli, which, as a rule, fill with air when we breathe in. However, when the baby contracts pneumonia, these alveoli start to fill with pus and fluid (in response to the body's natural reaction to fighting infection). This makes breathing difficult and restricts the intake of oxygen.

What Causes Pneumonia In Newborn Babies?

Both viruses and bacteria can cause the early-onset of pneumonia in your newborns.

  • Newborns acquire pneumonia from the mother during the labor or delivery. The organisms that cause infection in the fetal lungs are more often than not usually found in the maternal vagina
  • Newborns may acquire pneumonia when they breathe in the infected amniotic fluid
  • It can also happen as an after effect of the breast milk accidentally entering the lungs of the newborns
  • Exposure to chlamydial organisms during delivery can bring about chlamydial pneumonia. 5 to 30% of the neonates exposed to chlamydia will develop pneumonia between 2 to 12 weeks
  • Newborns can catch pneumonia from two types of bacteria - Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) and Streptococcus pneumoniae
  • A virus called respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is one of the most common causes of viral pneumonia in newborns

8 Tips To Protect Infant From Pneumonia

Here are 8 ways through which you may try and protect your baby.

  • Vaccination:  Vaccination is the most important method of prevention. The pneumococcal vaccine will help in preventing pneumonia. Vaccination (DTP) against diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough is also important as these infections can lead to pneumonia in infants
  • Immunizing expectant mothers:  Recently, some studies have shown that by immunizing the pregnant woman, we can prevent pneumonia in newborns to great extent. Make sure the pregnant women get her yearly flu shot. Flu can lead to pneumonia. When a pregnant woman receives a vaccine, she can obviously produce antibodies. She passes these antibodies to the baby. Thus the baby will be born with antibodies produced by the mother to certain infections. This is important because the baby can get vaccinated only on or after 6 months and they can expose to the microbes causing pneumonia from their day one itself
  • Practicing personal hygiene:  Maintaining personal hygiene is another important factor that helps in protecting newborns from pneumonia. Wrap your hand around your mouth and nose when you sneeze and cough. Wash your hands often and every time before feeding the baby. Make sure who all dealing with the baby follow these measures as well
  • Ensure smoke-free environment:  Secondary smoking poses several potential health risks for the newborns. Studies have shown that children who are exposed to cigarette smoke, even for short periods, get respiratory issues more often and are more susceptible to pneumonia. Also, avoid all the circumstances that may lead to indoor air pollution
  • Keep the baby well nourished:  Exclusive breastfeeding is the most excellent way to boost the newborn's developing immune system. The breast milk contains antibodies produced by the mother's body against several infection-causing microbes. This helps the newborn to prevent infections, even when his or her immune system is not fully developed yet
  • Take measures to make the labor and delivery unproblematic:  Try to avoid the chances of inhalation of amniotic fluid and meconium by the baby during delivery. Take measures to minimize the duration of the labor
  • Keep away the newborn from sicks:  Never let people with any type of infection come near the newborns. Several strains of microbes which also cause other infections are able to trigger pneumonia or conditions that could lead to pneumonia in newborns
  • Keep baby's stuff clean:  Regularly wash or steam the baby's stuff, like pacifiers, toys, and feeding bottle

You can also read this blog to know how to Prevent Child from Pneumonia .

What Are The Signs Of Pneumonia In Childrens?

All the symptoms and signs of pneumonia may not necessarily should come out in newborns. Here are some of the signs that indicate the possibility of pneumonia in your newborn babies.

  • Fever
  • Difficulty to suckle
  • Cough
  • Fast and shallow breathing
  • Bluish lips and nails
  • Wheezing
  • In severe cases, the lower chest wall draws in noticeably when the baby breathes in

Above mentioned the signs of pneumonia are non-specific in newborns. Therefore, any newborn with sudden onset of respiratory distress or other signs of illness should test for pneumonia.

Why Is It Said That Bacterial Pneumonia Is Fatal In Newborns?

In the newborn babies, pneumonia may spread through the blood. Pneumonia caused by bacteria, when invades the newborn's bloodstream, can lead to acute meningitis, an infection of the membranes covering the brain, which is fatal.

When Are Newborns More At Risk To Catch Pneumonia?

The newborns are more at risk to contract pneumonia when-

  • The membrane ruptures more than six hours before delivery. This increases the chances of the baby to inhale the amniotic fluid
  • If the baby comes out after a long land complicated labor. More time in birth canal means more chances to get exposed to the microbes in the birth canal
  • The baby is born way before the due date


How Soon Does A Baby Could Catch Pneumonia?

The onset of pneumonia in newborns can occur as early as within a few hours of birth (early onset) to any time after seven days of birth (late onset).

Did you like the blog on how to protect your newborn from pneumonia? Share your views and feedback in the comments section below.


6 in 1 Vaccination Awareness

Vaccination Awareness is an education initiative by GSK.

 Vaccination plays an important role for each child’s health and wellbeing. In fact, you could also get your baby a combination vaccination which combines protection for multiple diseases in a single shot which means less pricks to your newborn and the same protection from diseases. It provides antibodies to your baby that could fight against 6 diseases - Diphtheria, Pertussis, Tetanus, Hib, Hepatitis B and Polio. Let us look into each of these diseases. While Polio could lead to paralysis and disability, Hepatitis B is a viral infection affecting the liver.  Diphtheria is a serious throat infection, and tetanus could lead to muscle spasms. The other two diseases that the combination vaccination provides protection from are Pertussis and Hib. Pertussis is a respiratory disease and Hib could cause infections like Pneumonia or brain fever.

According to WHO, Immunization is one of the most powerful and fundamental disease prevention tools in the history of public health. Indian Academy of Pediatrics also recommends vaccinating newborns as per their immunization schedule for India.

Combination Vaccination provides on-time protection for 6 diseases in line with the immunization schedule.

So, when your baby is 0-2 months old, consult your Pediatrician to know more about protection from 6 diseases with combination vaccination.




A public awareness initiative by GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals Limited. Dr. Annie Besant Road, Worli, Mumbai 400 030, India. Information appearing in this material is for general awareness only and does not constitute any medical advice. Please consult your Doctor for more information, any question or concern you may have regarding your condition.

Please consult your physician for the complete list of vaccine preventable diseases and for the complete vaccination schedule for each disease.

The mere appearance of this article on this website/page does not constitute an endorsement by GSK or its affiliates of such website/page or any other articles, images or videos, if any, appearing on this website/page.

CL codes: NP-IN-INH-OGM-200101, DOP Dec 2021

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| Nov 22, 2017

DO’s for you if your child is suffering from Pneumonia: Visit your doctor at the earliest. Give treatment on time as advised Keep your child warm Wash your hands before and after touching the child Continue breastfeeding DON’Ts for you if your child is suffering from Pneumonia Don’t panic. Don’t self-medicate. Don’t ignore the danger signs. Don’t touch the child with contaminated hands Don’t stop feeding It is important for you to know that Pneumonia is the biggest baby killer. In fact, according to studies, it mainly affects babies that are less than 5 years old. This silent killer masks itself as a common cough and cold causing severe pulmonary distress and death. If your child is wheezing and is experiencing difficulty while breathing, it is best recommended that you consult a pediatrician or neonatologist at the earliest. Please be open to hospitalization or serious medical treatment.

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| Feb 01, 2018

useful info for pregnant women on the signs ,symptoms and steps to protect a newborn from pneumonia . thanks for sharing.

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| Jan 22, 2019

P may ooo for it

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| Jan 22, 2019

I am

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