MRV campaign starting from Oct 3 is safe, says Dr Atoshe
Kohima, September 25: Nagaland State Health Society under National health Mission today asserted that the Measles Rubella Vaccination is totally safe and does not cause any severe side effects.
Interacting with media persons during media sensitization workshop on MRV campaign here this evening, State Immunization Officer Dr. Atoshe Sema while pooh-poohing rumours and unfounded statements circulating in both the print and social media about the campaign said the MR vaccine is totally safe. He, therefore, urged the public not to believe the rumours doing the round in the social media.
Of the approximately 1,34,200 measles related deaths globally in 2015, 36% were from India, he said adding that the vaccine manufacturing was done in India for the whole world but it has not been utilized as expected because of the lack of awareness.
He said earlier the Central government was mostly focused on eradication of polio and other diseases including small pox, which has been successfully achieved.
But realizing danger posed by Measles and Rubella the Centre has now shifted the focus towards MRVC, he said adding that Measles and Rubella has no cure but they can be prevented through vaccination.
Therefore, education and awareness about the vaccine is necessary and participation of the general mass in this campaign is vital for eradication of measles and Rubella viruses, he said.
He said that while the campaign was launched last year in other parts of the country, in Nagaland it would be formally launched on October 3 by Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio at Government Higher Secondary School, Seikhazou, Kohima.
He said that children in the age group of 9 months to 15 years will be vaccinated across Nagaland under Measles-Rubella (MR) campaign by October 3, 2018.
This campaign is in line with the national target of measles elimination and control of rubella by 2020, he said.
For a successful campaign, all children in the target age group must be vaccinated. Both diseases can only be prevented through vaccination, he said.
Expressing hope to achieve 100% coverage, Dr. Sema sought the active involvement of media house for success of the campaign.
The duration of the campaign in Nagaland will be for five weeks where first two weeks will be in the schools and institutions while third & fourth weeks will be in the community facility centres and fifth week will be for the missed-out children, he said.
All children of 9 months to less than 15 years must get vaccinated, adding that this vaccine will be given in all schools, community sessions, Angawadi centres and government health centres.
The children will be vaccinated by a trained health workers, it stated and appealed parents to bring their children to the MR vaccination campaign site.
Head Officer, UNICEF Dr. Maulik Shah said that even at high levels of routine immunization coverage, single dose is not enough to achieve 95% population immunity.
He said two doses of MR vaccine with 95% coverage is critical.
Highlighting the affects of Measles and Rubella, he said measles is one of the leading causes of death among young children, even though a safe and effective vaccine has been available for over 40 years.
It is a highly contagious disease, caused by virus of the paramyxovirus family and spreads through coughing and sneezing of an infected person. Measles is commonly recognizable as a visible red rash with high fever, cough, runny nose and red eyes. Children who do not have sufficient immunity contract the disease, if exposed. Measles can make a child vulnerable to life threatening complications such as pneumonia, diarrhoea and brain infection.
Rubella, although a mild viral illness, can lead to serious consequences if infected during pregnancy. Rubella infection during early pregnancy can lead to abortion, miscarriage, still birth, and set of congenital anomalies in the foetus and newborns known as Congenital Rubella Syndrome (CRS), which is a cause of public health concern. CRS is characterized by multiple defects, particularly affecting the eyes (glaucoma, cataract), ears (hearing loss), brain (microcephaly, mental retardation) and heart defects, many of which require costly therapy, surgeries and other expensive care.
Both these diseases can be prevented by highly effective vaccines which offer lifelong protection. Malnourished children should be vaccinated on a priority basis, as they are more likely to have complications like diarrhea and pneumonia.
SMO (WHO) Dr. Sheila said that measles kills nearly 49,200 children every year in India. She said Rubella infection during pregnancy can cause abortion, still birth and may lead to multiple birth defects in the new born, like blindness, deafness, heart defects (know as Congenital Rubella Syndrome).
Stating that there is no enough evidence to suggest that mumps is a disease of public health importance, she said therefore MR vaccine is being introduced instead of Measles Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine.
MR vaccination campaign is one of the biggest campaigns undertaken by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare under Universal Immunization Programme, till date.
SBCC consultant UNICEF, Marykali Yepthomi dwelled on the does and don’ts for media persons in reporting the cases of Measles and Rubella.
During the day separate workshop for Faith Based Organizations (FBOs) also conducted where leaders from various churches deliberated on the campaign. The medical team also requested them to create awareness among the believers to bring their children forward in vaccinating their children between the age group of 9 months to 15 years. (Page News Service)