Vaccination drive against measles from February 6

A massive vaccination programme from February 6 aims at eliminating measles and rubella cases in the state. The Measles Rubella Vaccination drive attempts to cover close to 1.8 crore children in the age group of 9 months to 15 years. The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare Department campaign has also been initiated in Karnataka, Goa, Puducherry and Lakshadweep.
GCC officials distribute a medicinal drink as part of dengue awareness to students
GCC officials distribute a medicinal drink as part of dengue awareness to students

Chennai

Over the years, there has been a drastic reduction of measles (a highly infectious disease) cases in the state, with just about 536 cases reported in 2016. “This is the lowest number of cases we have had in 30 years,” said Dr K Kolandaisamy, director, Public Health and Preventive Medicine, at a programme on Friday. However, with the upcoming Measles Rubella Vaccination campaign, they aim at bringing it down further. 
Kolandaisamy added that 95 per cent of rubella cases, also known as German measles, a mild virus, are being seen in the 9 months to 15-year age group. “In pregnant women, the rubella could lead to congenital defects in the child. Though we don’t have exact numbers, congenital rubella syndrome is evidently prevalent.  Therefore, we are tackling it on a war footing by administering the vaccine to girls and boys as well for the future. In April and May, when measles is common, we expect to see a further reduction in the number of cases this year,” he added. 
Targeting 100 per cent coverage, the drive has also roped in School Education Department among others to reach out to all pockets of population, including migrant workers through mobile vans. Dr C Vijaya Baskar, Health Minister, added that health officials across districts must take a clear message to public to dispel myths about the vaccine. 
“Since it is in injection form, there would be many doubts. Address them clearly so that all children can benefit from this drive,” he said. He warned against any rumours being circulated on social media against vaccines. From March 2017, the combination vaccine will replace the existing measles vaccine for children above 9 months and they will receive another dose before they turn 2, he added.

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