The first phase of Measles Rubella (MR) vaccination campaign will begin in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Goa and Lakshadweep, covering nearly 3.6 crore target children.
‘Children in the age group of 9 months to 15 years will be given a single shot of Measles Rubella vaccination irrespective of their previous measles/rubella vaccination status or measles/rubella disease status.’
Measles is a deadly disease and one of the important causes of death in children. It is highly contagious and spreads through coughing and sneezing by an infected person. Measles can make a child vulnerable to life threatening complications such as pneumonia, diarrhea and brain infection.
Rubella is generally a mild infection, but has serious consequences if the infection occurs in pregnant women, causing congenital rubella syndrome (CRS), which is a cause of public health concern.
CRS is characterized by congenital anomalies in the fetus and newborns affecting the eyes (glaucoma, cataract), ears (hearing loss), brain (microcephaly, mental retardation) and heart defects, causing a huge socio-economic burden on the families in particular and society in general.
"This campaign will be taken up in a mission mode and has been rolled out in partnership with States, NGOs and development partners such as WHO, UNICEF, Gates Foundation, Lions Club, IPA, IMA. As part of a nationwide campaign, the health ministry will reach out to and cover 41 crore children, the largest ever in any campaign," Faggan Singh Kulaste, Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare said.
"Children in the age group of 9 months to 15 years will be given a single shot of MR vaccination irrespective of their previous measles/rubella vaccination status or measles/rubella disease status," he said. The vaccine will be provided free of cost across the States from session sites at schools and health facilities and outreach session sites.
"The vaccine protects against two deadly diseases—measles and rubella, only preventable through vaccination. There is no specific treatment for the diseases. MR vaccination is an essential investment by the government in children's lives and will ensure that as future healthy citizens they contribute to the development of the country," said Dr Yaron Wolman, Chief of Health, UNICEF India.
After the completion of the campaign, MR vaccine will be introduced in routine immunization and will replace measles vaccine, given at 9-12 months and 16-24 months of age of child.