‘Programme will start from September after proper assessment of children up to 15-years-old’
SRINAGAR: Meetings were held in Budgam, Anantnag, Kulgam and Shopian on Saturday to review the preparations for the measles-rubella vaccination campaign, starting from September 1, to be launched as part of state-wide immunization campaign for children up to 15 years of age.
In Budgam and Kulgam the meetings were chaired by DDC Budgam Dr Syed Sehrish Asgar and DDC Kulgam Dr Shamim Ahmad Wani.
In Anantnag the meeting was chaired by chairmanship of Deputy CMO, Anantnag.
In Shopian a day-long workshop was also held on the importance of measles-rubella vaccination which was inaugurated by the Additional Deputy Commissioner Shopian, Parvaiz Sajad Ganie, who was the chief guest on the occasion.
It was informed that the campaign to be launched for the first time in the state will run in three phases for a total of 6 weeks. It was said the first phase will be held in schools, the second in the community including high-risk areas and the third phase will involve a mop-up during which those having missed out will be administered the vaccination.
The officials were asked to prepare list of enrolled the students of government/private schools upto 10th class and also students of Madrasa and Darul-ulooms and children at home, so that every single child will be immunised during the campaign.
Meanwhile, informing about the measles-rubella vaccine, the deputy CMO Anantnag said that measles is a highly contagious disease caused by a virus. “Measles can occur in a person who has never had this disease and has no immunity against it. Any non-immune person who has not been vaccinated or was vaccinated but did not develop immunity can become infected and is at highest risk of measles and its complications, including death,” he said.
He said rubella is an acute, contagious viral infection transmitted through the respiratory route in children and young adults. “The virus is present in the discharges from nose and throat one week before the appearance of a rash and two weeks after. When primary rubella infection occurs in a pregnant woman, the virus can infect the unborn baby,” he said.
While the illness is generally mild, the importance of preventing it is due to the potentially devastating outcomes of infection during pregnancy, for both mother and unborn child, the deputy CMO said.
He said infection during pregnancy can result in miscarriage, death of the baby in the womb or infants born with birth defects, known as congenital rubella syndrome (CRS). CRS commonly manifests as heart disease, cataract in eyes, mental retardation and deafness.
Both measles and rubella are preventable by administration of vaccines but a single dose provides inferior protection as opposed to multiple doses. Also, vaccinating the entire population of children in one region gives an enhanced effect of “herd immunity” and this is the concept behind the MR vaccine campaign.