The Punjab Government is going to initiate the "State-wide Vaccination Campaign against Measles-Rubella" from 1st May, 2018 as part of National strategy to eliminate Measles and control Rubella in the country.Disclosing this here today Health & Family Welfare Minister Mr. Brahm Mohindra said that already 3 phases of MR vaccination Campaign have been completed in 13 states covering around 7-8 crore children with this vaccine safely while Punjab is being covered in Phase 4. "An estimated 75 lakh children aged between 9 months to less than 15 years will be vaccinated in the campaign over a period of 4-6 weeks and the vaccination will first be conducted in schools and later in community through outreach sessions" he added .He further said that Auto-disable syringes are used for vaccination of each child.These syringes are rendered non-usable after single use. All the vaccinators are highly skilled health staffs who administer vaccinations to the children in routine immunization in large numbers regularly following the best injection and waste disposal practices.Talking about the road map to ensure coverage across the state Mr.Mohindra said that 5200 vaccination teams and 1733 supervisors have been deployed to cover about 29000 schools conducting nearly 59000 vaccination sessions in all districts. So far, teachers from about 28500 schools have been sensitized about the campaign.
Giving details about the MR he said that Measles is a highly infectious disease caused by a virus and an estimated nearly 49,000 children die from measles annually, making it one of the leading causes of child deaths in India. He said that measles can be prevented by immunizing children with two doses of measles vaccine, which is safe and effective. He said that Rubella is also another infectious yet mild viral illness affecting both children and adults that can cause death and disabilities in the new-born if an unprotected pregnant woman gets infected with rubella virus in early pregnancy. He further said that it also having the potential to cause abortions, stillbirths and severe birth defects known as congenital rubella syndrome (CRS), including deafness and blindness in the new-born child.He stated that the Goal of MR campaign is to accelerate population immunity by reaching 100 percent target children with MR vaccine that will reduce cases and deaths from measles and disabilities from Congenital Rubella Syndrome. He said that likewise Polio, it is now targeted to make state as well as country Measles and Rubella free by 2020.
Mr. Mohindra told that the campaign would be implemented by two strategies: School based and community based. He said that during school based campaign all children in Government, Government aided, Private, Army schools, Day Care centers and Crèches shall be vaccinated. Simililarly, during community based campaign all out of school children in age group of 9 months to 15 years shall be covered including children at Orphanages, Blind schools, Deaf Schools, Juvenile homes, Children of Jail inmates and Nomads.He said that MR vaccine is safe and administered worldwide under Routine Immunization program as well as through MR vaccination campaigns. He said that MR vaccine used for the campaign is a WHO prequalified vaccine, produced under stringent and highly supervised conditions by Serum Institute of India which is one of the largest vaccine manufacturers and exporters globally with its vaccines used all over the world including American and European nations.