CHENNAI: With rumours in social media playing spoilsport, the State health department has decided to extend the Measles-Rubella (MR) vaccination programme by 14 days till March 14.
The drive was originally scheduled between February 6 and 28. Due to apprehensions of parents about the vaccine after rumours, the mass vaccination programme slowed down.
Of the targetted 1.76 crore children, the health department was able to cover only 77 lakh so far, officials said. In the coming two days, officials hope to cover 10 lakh more children. “We had set a target of covering 1.76 crore children across the State, but because of the rumours it has slowed down. So, in order to reach the target, we have extended the programme till March 14,” said K Kolandaswamy, Director of Public Health.
He said in addition to schools and anganwadis, the State will administer the vaccine in the urban and rural Primary Health Centres, major private medical college hospitals and paediatric hospitals from 8 am to 2 pm free of cost.
“Parents wanted the camps to be conducted on Sundays also. So, we have tied up with major private medical college hospitals and paediatric hospitals across the State. We are hopeful of reaching the target. This has been made possible because of the awareness we created among people on the vaccine,” he said.
Three states and two Union Territories - Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Goa, Puducherry and Lakshadweep - had been selected for the Central government-sponsored MR vaccination programme in the first-ever mandatory MR vaccination drive.
The vaccine will be introduced in routine immunisation, replacing the currently given two doses of measles vaccine, at 9-12 months and 16-24 months of age.