THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: With barely two weeks left for the Measles-Rubella (MR) vaccination drive to conclude, the state could achieve almost half the target with as many as 34.7 lakh children innoculated till now. Under the programme, about 75 lakh children will be administered the vaccine in the state.
Though the southern districts have managed to achieve over 50 per cent of target, the vaccination drive in the northern districts is yet to gather steam with a few of them recording a measly 30 per cent. Nonetheless, officers said the target will indeed be achieved. Director of Health Services(DHS) R L Sarita said 75 per cent of the schoolchildren have been administered the vaccine. In the districts where vaccination drive is proceeding at a slow pace, special awareness campaigns will be held at the block- level, she said.
As per the Directorate of Health Services report, Pathanamthitta tops the vaccination drive with 72 per cent. Upto 1.4 lakh children have been administered the vaccine till October 21 after the drive got under way on October 3. While 67 per cent were vaccinated in Alappuzha, 64 per cent were innoculated in the capital district. When Idukki achieved 63 per cent of the target, Kottayam and Ernakulam made it to 60 per cent. As many as 3,17,050 ( 55 per cent) of the children were administered the vaccine in Kollam. The DHS report said 48 and 43 per cent of the target was achieved in Thrissur and Palakkad, respectively. While 3,16,877 children were given the vaccine in Thrissur, 2,90,060 were administered the MR vaccine in Palakkad.
The tepid response to the vaccination drive in the northern districts saw Malappuram recording a lowly 24 percent to finish at the bottom of the table state-wide. Kozhikode and Kannur also recorded a lowly 32 and 37 per cent, respectively. Wayanad and Kasargod recorded 57 per cent and 44 per cent in the drive, with 1,15,639 and 1,39,938 children, receiving the jab respectively. According to the officers, several people, who had been opposed to the drive earlier, are now coming forward to get their children innoculated. However, in some pockets, there is still resistance even after the intensive campaign. The people in these small pockets have not changed their mind and it is next to impossible to convince them, they said. But these are a only a minority.Earlier, after the vaccination drive began, a small group had come out against it.However, Health Department officers said they were engaged in clearing the air about the vaccine.