Pakistan has become the first country in the world to introduce the World Health Organization (WHO)-recommended typhoid conjugate vaccine (TCV) into its routine immunisation programme.
It is the first typhoid vaccine that can be given to children as young as six months of age and confers longer-term protection against typhoid. In 2017, 63% of typhoid cases and 70% of typhoid deaths in Pakistan were among children younger than 15 years of age.
With funding support from Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the typhoid vaccine’s introduction will begin with a two-week vaccination campaign targeting 10 million children aged nine months to 15 years old in urban areas of Sindh Province; the centre of an ongoing extensively drug-resistant (XDR) typhoid outbreak that began in November 2016.
This will be followed by transition to routine immunisation of nine-month-old infants in all parts of the province. The vaccine will be introduced in neighbouring Punjab Province and Islamabad next year and then nationally in 2021.
Typhoid disproportionally impacts children and low-resource communities in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. In 2017, it is estimated, that there were nearly 11 million typhoid cases and more than 116,000 typhoid deaths worldwide.
The WHO issued its formal recommendation in support of typhoid conjugate vaccine introduction in March 2018.