Jammu: Over 27.85 lakh children were given the Measles-Rubella (MR) vaccine during an ongoing vaccination campaign across Jammu and Kashmir, an official spokesman said Saturday.
The campaign was launched on September 24 to cover nearly 38 lakh children in the age group of nine months to 15 years to eliminate the congenital rubella syndrome, caused by the rubella virus.
“A total of 37,72,960 children will be covered in the state, of whom 27,85,731 have been vaccinated till date with 17,00,994 children covered in the Kashmir division and 10,84,737 in the Jammu division,” the spokesman said. The campaign is expected to be concluded by the end of this month as against the scheduled October 20 deadline.
The measles-rubella campaign marks the introduction of the rubella vaccine in India’s childhood immunisation programme for the first time.
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Rubella, which is commonly referred to as German measles, is a mild infection, but can have serious consequences if it occurs in pregnant women. India’s latest MR vaccine also protects against measles, a major killer of small children.
Highly contagious, it spreads through contact. Nearly 37 per cent of the global burden of deaths due to measles is in India, mainly due to complications such as diarrhoea and pneumonia.
The spokesman said Principal Secretary, Health and Medical Education, Atal Dulloo reviewed the progress of the campaign at a meeting here and asked the health authorities to build up awareness on a big scale in schools and outreach areas, where a stiff resistance has come up against the vaccination drive.
The meeting was informed that Kathua, Leh and Kargil districts had already achieved 100 per cent targets, while Samba in Jammu and Budgam and Kulgam in Kashmir were on the verge of achieving their targets.
Dulloo instructed the health authorities of those districts, which were far behind the target, to gear up to achieve the set targets by the end of this month, the spokesman said.