Patna, Jul 17 (PTI) Bihar will soon launch a vaccination campaign to cut down casualty due to pneumonia, which claims almost 15 per cent of the child population below 5 years of age in the country.

In the first phase, Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV) will be administered in 17 districts of Bihar, N K Sinha, Additional Director-cum-state Immunisation officer Bihar, said addressing a seminar hosted by UNICEF.

The districts are Araria, Begusarai, Kisanganj, Katihar, Muzaffarpur, Munger, Vaishali, Madhepura, Madhubani, Purnea, Samastipur, Saharsa, Sitamarhi, Sheohar, Supual among others, he said.

Sinha said the PCV vaccine has been proved to be a very effective tool against pneumonia in 139 countries.

According to Central Government data, 15 per cent deaths in children below 5 year of age is due to pneumonia in India. Out of this, 70 per cent happen in four states – Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.

The vaccine is a strong defence against pneumonia and meningitis that happens through pneumococcal bacteria, N K Agrawal, secretary, Indian Academy of Paediatricians (IAP), Bihar chapter, said.

Syed Hubbe Ali and Asadur Rahman of UNICEF dwelt on success of PCV vaccine across the world.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.