Japanese Encephalitis immunisation which was initially scheduled to take place on June 18 has been advanced to May 15. The Uttar Pradesh government is responsible for the advancement but the centre is against the advancement of dates. Japanese Encephalitis is the main reason for the death of about 1,000 to 2,000 lives every year. Statistics show that in UP alone about 600-700 children in Muslim-dominated areas are dying. About 5.2 million doses of Japanese Encephalitis vaccine manufactured by the Chengdu Institute of Biologicals, china would arrive in India, on May 11. The UP government plans to distribute it on 15 may. The remaining 13.5 million doses would be imported by mid-June. But this has created lot of unrest among the teams of Central government and international agencies.
They say that they are awaiting some more data before starting the vaccination drive. They also say that June is the best time as the disease is prevalent in July. The vaccination would be effective after 15 days of vaccination. They also feel that the staffs need to be trained properly, taken care of logistics and cold chain in a better manner. But the Uttar Pradesh Government has already started the campaign in four districts. The health ministry had planned to conduct the campaign simultaneously in 11 highly endemic districts in various states such as UP, Assam, Karnataka and West Bengal. The officials say that the Chinese vaccine has been thoroughly checked. It was found to be safe and effective. The Indian Council for medical research has approved the vaccine but results of the animal toxicity studies are awaited. a team of officials has been rushed to Gorakhpur to train the staff and take care of other necessary arrangements needed for the program.