Health and Family Welfare Minister, Punjab Brahm Mohindra assisted by the experts of WHO and PGI today strongly refuted the malicious campaign being carried out by anti development forces and strongly reinforced the positive aspects of National Measles Rubella Vaccination Campaign in Punjab. In a media briefing held at the office of Director Health Services, Health Minister accompanied by Dr. Sanjay Verma, Additional Professor, Pediatrics, PGIMER and Dr. Srinivasan from WHO emphatically asserted that the MR Vaccination is completely safe and effective and prevents children against two deadly diseases of Measles and Rubella. He strongly condemned the fake and false negative propaganda against the campaign by anti development forces on social media. He stated that around 8 crore children across 14 states/ UTs have been safely vaccinated with this vaccine while in Punjab till late evening on Thursday 14 lakh children have been administered the MR vaccine. He said that on Thursday itself approximately 2 lakh children have been immunized which reflected a strong positive trend towards acceptance of MR Vaccination campaign. He refuted all claims of anti vaccine propaganda regarding safety, efficacy and need of vaccination.
The Minister invited any person having doubts about this vaccination to come and discuss personally with the experts from Institutes of Global repute like PGIMER and WHO to clarify their misconceptions about this vaccine.Speaking to the journalist Dr. Sanjay Verma stated that the disease is still a big challenge and cause of disability and mortality as he himself attends to several patients of Measles and congenital Rubella syndrome in PGI. He expressed shock that such deaths could be avoided by simple vaccination with MR. Dr. Verma also underlined the point that the prevention is better than cure and available modalities of treating infectious diseases are becoming limited due to resistance of antibiotics. Dr. Srinivasan while addressing the concerns of the journalists said that Measles is number one killer among vaccine preventable disease with more than one lakh deaths globally of which about 30% happening in India alone. He said that the MR vaccine, which is produced by Indian firm Serum Institute of India under strict quality control and is WHO pre-qualified vaccine. He said that same vaccine is exported to European Countries and USA. Dr. Srinivasan said that 150 courtiers in the world have been using MR vaccine including Japan in their routine immunization.
Mr. Brahm Mohindra expressed sorrow and regret the death of a child at Bathinda and shared the grief of the deceased's family.He clarified that as per preliminary investigation by experts, no link could be established with MR vaccination and this unfortunate death. He said that as per doctors attending the patient, the cause of death is acute gastroenteritis with severe dehydration. He said that similarly a case admitted at PGI, has been diagnosed as GB syndrome and as per attending doctors at PGI, it is most unlikely to be caused by MR vaccine yet the Health Department owning the moral responsibility has extended all possible support including financial assistance for the treatment of the said child.He appealed the media to highlight the truth about the MR vaccination campaign and help in dispelling rumours and false propaganda about the campaign. He also appealed the parents to get their children aged 9 months to 15 years vaccinated with the Measles Rubella vaccine and help eliminate these two diseased from the soil of India. Mr. Brahm Mohindra especially appealed the teaching fraternity to proactively participate in the campaign and sensitize parents about the virtues of this MR campaign.