KOCHI: Over 5,58 lakh children have been given the Measles-Rubella vaccination in Ernakulam district under the intensive vaccination campaign launched a month ago. The vaccination drive will conclude on November 18. According to the district administration, 82.54 per cent of children up to the age of 15 years have been given the vaccination.This is the result of various awareness programmes conducted in the district as part of the campaign, officers said.
Accounting for a total of 5,58,060 children, the campaign has seen 7,892 vaccination sessions conducted in the district so far. That includes 5,299 school sessions, 1,346 outreach sessions, 478 mobile sessions and 787 hospital sessions. In some schools, more than one vaccination session was conducted.
An anti-vaccine sentiment, mostly triggered by social media posts, had swept the people’s psyche in the early stages of the drive. However, the state government and the Health Department officers launched awareness camps involving school staff, doctors and department staff.
"The major advantage was the presence of doctors from private medical colleges, IAP, IMA, and the Health Department. This helped in addressing the concerns and apprehensions of parents," according to a statement issued here by the district administration. They also appreciated the efforts made by people's representatives in the campaign. They also stressed the importance of MR vaccination as both the diseases affect young children and are life-threatening.
Commonly known as German Measles, congenital rubella infection is believed to affect approximately 25,000 children born in India every year. According to a study by the University College of Medical Sciences, Delhi, “1-15 per cent of all infants suspected to have intra-uterine infection were found to have laboratory evidence of CRS (congenital rubella syndrome). CRS accounts for 10-15 per cent of paediatric cataract. Ten to 30 per cent of adolescent females and 12-30 per cent of women in the reproductive age-group are susceptible to rubella infection in India.”
Out of the local bodies in the district, six block panchayat have attained more than 90 per cent vaccination. This includes Chengamanad (92.59 pc), Pizhala (98.36 pc), Ramamangalam (99.02 pc), Kalady (92.61 pc), Keechery (90.7 pc) and Kumbalangi (98.1 pc).District Collector K Mohammed Y Safirulla said he will convene an urgent meeting on Wednesday with the headmasters, principals and PTA members of various schools yet to attain more than 70 per cent status in the vaccination drive. The meeting will be held at the District Collectorate Conference Hall.
On the last three days of the vaccination drive, vaccination will be administered at primary health centres, anganwadis, sub-centres and all government, aided and un-aided schools. Though vaccination against measles was part of the national immunisation programme, rubella was introduced in the national immunization programme for the first time.