59,000 doses of measles vaccine given on day 1 of campaign in Delhi | Latest News Delhi - Hindustan Times
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59,000 doses of measles vaccine given on day 1 of campaign in Delhi

Feb 06, 2023 11:20 PM IST

The government, through this drive, plans to eliminate measles and rubella from Delhi by December this year. Over 1 million children have been identified as eligible for this vaccine in the city

The Delhi government on Monday began a one-month-long vaccination campaign against measles and rubella by administering over 59,000 doses in at least 360 government dispensaries and hospitals, senior officials said.

Delhi government officials said that while the city’s routine vaccination drive was derailed due to the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak 2020, the state government was also caught in a legal battle since 2019, which had put the brakes on the MR vaccination campaign. (Representative Image/HT Archive)
Delhi government officials said that while the city’s routine vaccination drive was derailed due to the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak 2020, the state government was also caught in a legal battle since 2019, which had put the brakes on the MR vaccination campaign. (Representative Image/HT Archive)

Data shared by the Delhi government’s health and family welfare department showed that the measles-rubella vaccine was administered to children aged between nine months and five years on the first day of the campaign, which will continue till March 6. The government, through this drive, plans to eliminate measles and rubella from Delhi by December this year. According to government estimates, around 1.1 million children are eligible for this vaccine in the city.

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“The campaign was started at all the 11 districts today (Monday). Irrespective of their previous vaccination history, one dose will be administered to all eligible children. The vaccine shots will be available at all Delhi government dispensaries and hospitals. They will also be available at municipal dispensaries. We will also be setting up camps in vulnerable localities,” a senior official from the health department said.

Measles is a highly infectious viral disease, which causes fever and a rash in children and can also lead to symptoms such as diarrhoea, pneumonia and also deaths among younger children. Rubella is also a contagious viral infection identified by its distinctive red rash. The disease can spread through direct contact with the saliva or mucus of an infected person or through the air by respiratory droplets produced from coughing or sneezing.

Delhi government officials said that while the city’s routine vaccination drive was derailed due to the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak 2020, the state government was also caught in a legal battle since 2019, which had put the brakes on the MR vaccination campaign. In 2019, the government’s campaign was halted after a petition was filed in the Delhi high court against the administration for not seeking consent from guardians before administering the vaccines. Even as the government suggested the “opt-out” option, where parents could choose to decide whether they wanted their children to receive the vaccine, the drive could not be resumed.

Health experts said that for measles, a single dose of MR vaccine can provide 80% protection against the disease and the second dose increases the protection level to as much as 90%.

“Measles and rubella are highly contagious diseases and can be easily prevented through vaccination. We have seen that children, especially the younger ones, tend to get secondary complications from the disease. Since the government’s immunisation programme was halted due to Covid-19, we did see measles cases spike in many states, including Delhi,” said Dr Rakesh Bagdi, paediatrician and former president of the Federation of All India Medical Association (FAIMA).

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