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National Vaccination Day 2023 – March 16

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National Vaccination Day - March 16 2023National Vaccination Day, also known as National Immunization Day, is annually observed across the globe on 16th March to create awareness about the importance of vaccines in human health.

  • The day also highlights the significance of vaccines against fatal diseases.
  • The day offers a platform to acknowledge and recognise the work of doctors and healthcare workers in ensuring that vaccination reaches every child.

Note: National Vaccination Day in India, also known as “Polio Ravivar”.


i.The Government of India launched the Pulse Polio Immunisation program to eradicate polio from India in 1995.

  • National Vaccination Day in India was introduced in 1995, as a part of the National Polio Eradication Program (NPEP).

ii.On March 16, 1995, the first dose of the oral polio vaccine was administered in India as part of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Global Polio Eradication Initiative, which began in 1988

  • Since 1995, 16th March has been annually observed as National Vaccination Day.

Points to note: 

  • Vaccine: A biological preparation formulated to stimulate the body’s immune response against diseases. Vaccines contain a weakened (or attenuated) form of the living virus or bacteria that causes a disease.
  • Vaccination: The act of introducing a vaccine into the body to produce protection from a specific disease.
  • Immunization: A process by which a person becomes protected against a disease through vaccination.

Vaccination Programs of India: 

i.Universal Immunization Programme (UIP) was launched as the Expanded Programme on Immunization in 1978 by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, and later renamed as UIP in 1985.

  • UIP is one of the largest public health programmes targeting close to 2.67 crore newborns and 2.9 crore pregnant women annually.
  • Vaccines provided under UIP: Bacillus Calmette-Guerin vaccine; Oral Polio Vaccine; Hepatitis B vaccine; Pentavalent vaccine; Rotavirus Vaccine;  Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine; Measles vaccine; Inactivated polio vaccine (IPV); Tetanus and adult diphtheria (Td) vaccine; Japanese encephalitis vaccine and Diphtheria, Tetanus and Pertussis booster.

ii.Mission Indradhanush (MI) was launched in December 2014 and aims at increasing the full immunization coverage to children to 90%.

  • A total of 6 phases of Mission Indradhanush have been completed covering 554 districts across the country.

iii.India rolled out National COVID-19 Vaccination Programme, the world’s largest vaccination programme, on 16 January 2021 to vaccinate around 300 million priority groups against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Note: India is now moving towards the eradication of measles and rubella through the vaccination of over 324 million children through MR vaccination campaigns.

Achievements of India:

i.On 23rd April 1977, the Global Commission for the Certification of Smallpox

Eradication certified that smallpox had been eradicated from India

ii.In March 2014, after 3 years of zero polio cases, India was certified as a “polio-free country”.

iii.On 14th July 2016, WHO certified India for eliminating Yaws, and Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus.