Better Life, Safer Life Through Vaccination

Dr. Shafi Kolhapure, VP-Medical Affairs, GSK Biologicals India, Dr. Gouri Kumra,Consulting Gynecologist and Dr. Subhasis Roy, Consulting Pediatrician at World Vaccination Day seminar.
Dr. Shafi Kolhapure, VP-Medical Affairs, GSK Biologicals India, Dr. Gouri Kumra,Consulting Gynecologist and Dr. Subhasis Roy, Consulting Pediatrician at World Vaccination Day seminar.


One can never stress enough the benefits of vaccination – prevention of 2-3 million annual deaths; no other modality, not even antibiotics has such a major effect on mortality reduction – but then more awareness is needed to weed out the ailments that bug us specially in rural areas.

Vaccination is a preventive for of medication to safeguard against diseases that one may contract at various stages of life – from childhood to mature age and it need not be administered only via needle, some forms are oral as well.

An enquiry may certainly help and may even go on to save lives. 25% of the 1 Crore global deaths in children under-5 can be prevented by inoculation.

With an aim to increase the knowledge base, specially on vaccination against Cervix Uteri, the second

deadliest and fast emerging form of cancer in females, Dr. Shafi Kolhapure (Vice President-Medical Affairs, GSK Biologicals, India brought in Dr. Gouri Kumra (Consulting Gynecologist) and Dr. Subhasis Roy (Consulting Pediatrician) to create such awareness this World Vaccination Day.

Vaccines not only ameliorate future pain, suffering and death from disease but also prevent long-term disabilities such as mental impairment, blindness, hearing loss and many others thereby reducing cost of medical care and loss of work due to illness or caring for the affected.

No better advocate than eradication of smallpox and near-elimination of polio, that vaccination has going for it.

Over the ten year period leading up to 1977 vaccination programmes to prevent smallpox cost US $100 million, but it is estimated that its global eradication has resulted in annual savings of US $1.3 billion in treatment and prevention ever since.

Furthermore increasing the vaccine coverage rate in 72 of the poorest countries is projected to result in averting 6.4 million preventable deaths over a 10 year period.

This increase in vaccine coverage is also projected to reduce healthcare cost by US $6.2 billion and US $145 billion in productivity loses.

So vaccination clearly benefits governments as much as it does masses. Once polio has been eradicated, savings on health costs worldwide are estimated to amount to US $1.5 billion each year.

Similar success story is affected via measles vaccination, which resulted in a 71% drop in measles deaths worldwide between 2000 and 2011.

Vaccine recipients can be from infants (At Birth – BCG,OPV and HepB; 6 weeks to 6 years – Rotavirus, OPV, DPT, TT etc); adolescents (Cervical cancer; Tdap booster); Pregnant Woman (Tetanus); Elderly (Pneumococcal; disease-prone individuals (Yellow Fever; Hepatitis B) with Rabies and Influenza applicable across any age-group.

Of course the government has established vaccination programmes but it also becomes the responsibility of all individuals to approach immunization programmes – be it private or government and most importantly spread it where information or literacy is sparse.

There was distinct thrust on prevention of Human Papillomavirus (HPV), which causes cervical cancer – the third most common cancer in women.

Up to 70% of women acquire HPV infection in their lifetime, most resolve on their own but 5-10% of the affected go on to suffer from Cervix Uteri, incidence rates varying from 1 to 50 per 100 000 females resulting in 67,000 deaths from it.

In Belgium, health economic data has shown that screening for and vaccinating against HPV would prevent an additional 646 cases of cervical cancer over the lifetime of a 100,000 female cohort compared with screening alone.

One can be inoculated by HPV vaccine at any age till 70 but the best practice will be get it done between 9 to 13 years. Till 13 years, 2 doses are required then after 13 years one has to take 3 doses. GSK is mulling an male alternative to that.

Similarly one can get immunization from Rabies at no given fixed age.

GSk who has introduced 12 of the world’s first vaccines also have a price advantage over the immediate options.