Pakistan has become the first country in the world to launch a new vaccine that provides immunity against an extremely drug-resistant (XDR) strain of typhoid that has affected 11,000 children there and surfaced in several other countries.1
Pakistan’s government, already battling outbreaks of polio and dengue, has launched a huge foreign-funded vaccination drive that began on Nov 15. Some 3.4 million children have been vaccinated in the last four days in Karachi and the neighbouring city of Hyderabad where the outbreak was first reported, said James Fulker, a spokesman for GAVI, a Geneva-based partnership funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that is administering the vaccine.2
“Children are disproportionately affected by typhoid and its associated complications, and we strongly believe that TCV would protect our children against potentially fatal disease of typhoid,” said Dr Zafar Mirza, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health. “Starting with Sindh Province, where the need is most urgent, the government of Pakistan has planned a phased national introduction strategy with strong, coordinated support from global and local partners.”
“TCV, a one-dose, injectable vaccine, is expected to provide long-lasting immunity in adults, children and infants, six months of age and older,” said Ghazala Parveen, chief of the biological production division of the National Institute of Health.