Newly elected Prime Minister Narendra Modi has declared that India will provide four new vaccines free of cost as part of a “program to reduce child mortality.”

The four new vaccines will combat rotavirus, rubella, polio and Japanese encephalitis. Each of these diseases can be very serious.

Rotavirus, as the name suggests is a viral infection. It is the most common cause of severe diarrhea among infants and young children. The virus is transmitted by the faecal-oral route.

Rubella is also known as also known as German measles (external - login to view) or three-day measles; it is also a viral disease. Rubella is a common childhood infection that can sometimes be fatal.

Polio (poliomyelitis (external - login to view)) is another type of virus. It is spread from person to person, primarily via the fecal-oral route. The virus causes inflammation of the spinal cord’s grey matter.

Japanese encephalitis is a disease caused by the mosquito-borne Japanese encephalitis virus. The disease causes fever, headache and malaise are other non-specific symptoms. Mental retardation can develop from this disease and this usually leads to coma.

Of these diseases, rotavirus is the most widespread. The vaccine for this condition is called Rotavac and it will be made by (external - login to view) Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech.

According to the BBC (external - login to view), Mr Modi said: “The introduction of four new life-saving vaccines will play a key role in reducing childhood and infant mortality and morbidity in the country. Many of these vaccines are already available through private practitioners to those who can afford them. The government will now ensure that the benefits of vaccination reach all sections of society, regardless of social and economic status.”

Modi’s decision increases to 13 the number of free vaccines provided in India. The decision to vaccinate is not without controversy. Although the majority of the medical community believes they are an example of “preventive medicine,” there is a community of medical opinion that strongly disagrees (external - login to view). This is based on all vaccines being immune suppressing, which means they depress the natural immune functions of the body, potentially leaving the individual vulnerable to other diseases.

- See more at: India To Provide Four Free Vaccines To Children - NEWSWATCH | NEWSWATCH (external - login to view)