The CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) government is planning to make vaccination compulsory for school admissions and has decided to take strict action against those who campaign against preventive vaccines.
The government has been forced to take action after the rate of vaccination dipped in Muslim-dominated areas like Malappuram.
Last year, eight children from the district died of diphtheria which was supposedly almost eradicated from the state.
As a preliminary step, the government will conduct a survey to collect the vaccination status of children in different parts of the state. The information collected through schools will be handed over to local self-government institutions within a month.
“We will seek the help of local bodies for the survey. Once we get the reports we will take action,” state education minister C Raveendranath said.
Vaccination details of the child will be mandatory for admissions to schools. Government hospitals have been instructed to check the vaccination status of children and issue necessary certificates.
According to the state health ministry, 35% children between one and five years of age and 20% in the age group of seven to 16 in the district were never vaccinated in Malappuram district whereas the immunization rate is well above 95%in both age groups in the rest of the state.
The Indian Medical Association and Indian Academy of Pediatrics have asked the state government to take strict action to contain the misinformation campaign. Otherwise, it warned, some of the eradicated diseases may stage a comeback in the state.
According to the central government’s universal immunization programme, 10 diseases are covered under free immunization in the country— Polio, diphtheria, pertussis, measles, tetanus, mumps, rubella tuberculosis, Hepatitis A and B.