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Monday, Sep 16, 2019

Measles rubella vaccination: 11% children from Mumbai not covered in inoculation drive

State officials said that Mumbai, Thane, Aurangabad, Buldana, and Bhiwandi were not able to reach their target yet

mumbai Updated: Mar 28, 2019 00:41 IST
Aayushi Pratap
Aayushi Pratap
Hindustan Times
The BMC does not know the vaccination status of the children left out of the drive in Mumbai
The BMC does not know the vaccination status of the children left out of the drive in Mumbai(HT Photo)

Children in the city may be at higher risk of getting infected with measles as the health department has not been able to achieve its measles-rubella vaccination target. Mumbai is among the five districts in the state which are yet to cover over 95% of their target population.

Measles is a highly infectious viral disease causing illness and in severe cases, death due to complications such as diarrhoea, pneumonia, and infection in the brain. Rubella, also a virus, can infect pregnant women in the first trimester and children with congenital rubella syndrome may be born with heart problems, deafness, and blindness.

State officials said that all districts in the state except Mumbai, Thane, Aurangabad, Buldana, and Bhiwandi have close to reaching their target. Dr Archana Patil, additional director, directorate of health services, said it was disappointing to know that these districts have not achieved the targets despite mammoth efforts by local corporations. “We will try till March 31 to cover as many children as possible,” she said.

As per the World Health Organization (WHO) and Indian government guidelines, it is essential to cover 95% of the ‘target’ population to contain the transmission of the virus. However, in Mumbai, only 89% of the target population of 25.17 lakh children in the age group of nine months to 15 years have been covered.

The civic body does not know the vaccination status of the children left out in Mumbai. Dr Chandrashekar Chiplunkar, assistant health official, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), who is spearheading the campaign, said, “If the majority of children who weren’t covered during the drive have not taken these shots at birth, then it is a reason for worry as these children will easily transmit the viruses,” he said.

A major setback in the campaign for the BMC’s health department has been repeated refusal from around 36 schools to participate in the campaign. Of the 19.9 lakh children in the school-going age in the city, around 10% are yet to receive the vaccination. Civic officials said their last-ditch efforts to convince “high refusal” schools in the last two months have been in vain. “We have tried our best but these schools are not allowing us to conduct the drive,” said Dr Chiplunkar.

State officials said that in districts which don’t achieve the target, they will ensure there is surveillance to identify new cases of the diseases.

First Published: Mar 28, 2019 00:40 IST