Pneumonia, the second largest killer of children under five years of age, is a leading cause of mortality rate among children and the situation is no different in Kerala. Despite being preventable and treatable, the viral infection continue to claim the lives of millions of kids around the world. 

What really leads to so many casualties in Kerala is the high cost of the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, of which a single dose costs ₹4000. Doctors advice to take medicine for at least seven to 10 days after being infected and will discharge the patient only once they are completely healthy. Unlike other diseases, those affected by pneumonia will get their lungs filled with puss which will lead to surgery. 

India introduced rota virus vaccine in the routine immunisation programme, but only partially. Not many have opted for the vaccine owing to its huge cost. A full dose of vaccination will cost between ₹13, 000 to ₹14, 000, making it the costliest vaccine in the immunisation schedule of children. At least three primary doses need to be taken to get protection from pneumonia, and some advise a minimum of four doses. 

"It is true that vaccination is expensive. But if we compare it with the cost of hospitalisation we will find that the amount is not much. The infection is more dangerous in children," former president of India Academy of Paediatric's Dr Sachidananda Kammath said. 

Doctors say that it is very difficult to confirm pneumonia infection. At times overuse of antibiotics will also ead to drug resistance.