The Rubella Vaccination programme for Ernakulam district will commence from February 3 and go on till February 15. Under the programme, a first of its kind in the district, specially trained junior public health nurses under the supervision of experienced doctors will vaccinate girl students of various schools.
Rubella is a viral disease that infects pregnant women and leads to cardiac, cerebral, ophthalmic and auditory defects in newborns. “We are planning to vaccinate young girls to prevent the virus from attacking them in future. It is being carried out as a preventive step.
Though the vaccination is available in the private sector, this is for the first time that a programme is being carried out as a vaccination programme,” said National Rural Health Mission Mission District Project Manager or K V Beena.
Rubella primarily affects the foetus if the mother is infected in the first three months of pregnancy and women in the childbearing age are at risk of developing Rubella.
“If a woman is attacked by Rubella in the early months of her pregnancy, there is 80 per cent possibility of her baby being born deaf, blind, with a damaged heart or small brain, or mentally retarded. Miscarriages are also common among women who get Rubella, while they are pregnant,” said Dr Santhakumari, RCH officer, District Medical Office. The virus may affect all organs and cause a variety of congenital defects and the virus attack may lead to foetal death, spontaneous abortion or premature delivery.
It is spread from person to person through the air, by coughing, sneezing or breathing. The incubation period of Rubella is 14 days and the greatest danger from Rubella is to unborn babies. Many women who get affected with Rubella within the first critical trimester either have a miscarriage or a stillborn baby.
“As an after effect of the vaccination, there will be a slight fever, throat pain and knee pain. But it will fade away naturally. The vaccination will give life-long immunisation to Rubella virus. We request the students to make maximum use of the programme,” Beena said.