The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in association with UNICEF, WHO, and partners initiated vaccination campaign against measles and rubella aims to vaccinate 405 million children in the age group of 9 months to 15 years across India. The Govt initiative has already vaccinated millions of children in many Indian states and now starting the campaign on coming 15th & 16th January 2019 in Madhya Pradesh and Delhi, respectively.
What are Measles and Rubella exactly?
Measles and Rubella are highly contagious viral diseases that are spread by contact with an infected person through coughing and sneezing. It infects the respiratory tract and then the rest of the body with symptoms showing after 10-12 days of infection. It includes high fever, rashes, cough, running nose and red watery eyes. It can cause complications such as blindness, encephalitis, severe diarrhoea and severe respiratory infections, including pneumonia. Measles related deaths are caused by complications due to weakening of the immune system.
Rubella or German Measles is a contagious but mild viral disease which affects children and young adults. The symptoms include rashes, low fever, nausea and mild conjunctivitis. Rubella on its own is not a high risk infection but rubella infection during early pregnancy can pose serious risks to the foetus as in 90% of the cases; the virus is transmitted to the foetus. This can result in miscarriage, still birth or Congenital Rubella Syndrome in infants. It can cause deafness, disabilities, heart impairment, autism and other birth defects. Around 40,000 children are born with birth defects due to CRS every year in India, according to WHO.
How can we protect our child from measles and rubella?
Measles-Rubella (MR) vaccine is given for preventing both measles and rubella diseases. Although there is no specific treatment is available for measles and rubella but both diseases can easily be prevented by vaccination.
When should we give our child the Measles-Rubella (MR) vaccine?
MR vaccine is given in the age group of 9 months–15 years. The Government is providing Measles-Rubella vaccine free of cost through its immunization programme.
Why is Measles Rubella vaccination campaign being conducted?
Measles-Rubella vaccination campaign is a part of global effort to reduce #Measles and #Rubella related morbidity and mortality in the country. #MRCampaign #FightMeaslesRubella @UNICEFIndia pic.twitter.com/IIFGLcUv7A— Ministry of Health (@MoHFW_INDIA) November 30, 2017
The purpose of the Measles-Rubella campaign is to protect our child and eliminate transmission of Measles and Rubella from the community by vaccinating 100% target children with MR vaccine. Measles-Rubella vaccination campaign is a special campaign to vaccinate all children of 9 months to <15 years of age group with one additional dose of MR vaccine. This additional campaign dose will boost the immunity of child and protect the entire community by eliminating transmission of measles and rubella.
Is Measles-Rubella Vaccine Safe for our child?
Yes, the Measles-Rubella vaccine is safe. The vaccine is given in the Measles-Rubella campaign is produced in India and is WHO prequalified. The same vaccine is being given in the routine immunization programme of India and in many countries, including neighboring countries like Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Myanmar. There are around 150 countries which are currently using measles and rubella-containing vaccines and they have proven to be highly safe and effective.
Most children who get the Measles-Rubella vaccine do not have any serious problems with it. Side effects, if any, like low fever and mild rash following administration of MR vaccine, are mostly mild and transient.
PS: My both nephew and niece have been vaccinated earlier in December 2019. It’s absolutely safe.
Where and when to get our child vaccinated?
#MadhyaPradesh is gearing up to #FightMeaslesRubella!— UNICEF India (@UNICEFIndia) January 8, 2019
To raise awareness about the #MRCampaign before its launch on 15 January, colorful rangolis are being made across the state with encouraging messages in support of the campaign. pic.twitter.com/9kW75EzDwx
During the campaign all eligible children will be vaccinated at the following session sites:
- Schools: First 1-2 weeks of the campaign
- Health sub-centers, Anganwadi centers, fixed outreach sessions and mobile/special posts in villages and urban areas: Next 1-2 weeks of the campaign
- Government health facilities will vaccinate on all days of the campaign
Who should be vaccinated?
- All children who have completed 9 months of age and are below 15 years should be vaccinated
- Malnourished children should be vaccinated on a priority basis, as they are more likely to have complications like diarrhea and pneumonia
- Children with minor illnesses such as mild respiratory infection, diarrhea, and low-grade fever can be vaccinated
Who should NOT be vaccinated?
- High fever or another serious disease (eg: unconscious, convulsions, etc).
- Hospitalized children
- History of a severe allergic reaction to measles/rubella vaccine in the past
- Known immune-compromised, a child on steroid therapy or on immunosuppressant drugs