Measles cases still not showing signs of dipping worldwide
India accounts for one-third of all measles deaths worldwide
Statistics indicate that India accounts for one-third of all measles-related deaths worldwide. Measles is highly infectious and as per the WHO, a country needs to ensure that at least 95% of all children receive two doses of the vaccine. About 15% of vaccinated children fail to develop immunity from the first dose, meaning that if only 80% are fully immunized, an outbreak is likely.
Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr KK Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, "Measles is serious and highly contagious and lead to debilitating or fatal complications. Some of them include encephalitis (an infection that leads to swelling of the brain), severe diarrhea and dehydration, pneumonia, ear infections and permanent vision loss. Babies and young children with malnutrition and weak immune systems are particularly vulnerable to complications and death. Unlike measles, rubella is a mild viral infection that mainly occurs in children. A woman who is infected with the rubella virus during the early stage of pregnancy has a 90% chance of transmitting it to the fetus. Some issues that the virus can cause include hearing impairments, eye and heart defects and brain damage in newborns. It can also lead to spontaneous abortion and fetal deaths."
Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor-in-Chief of IJCP, said, "here is still reluctance, opposition, and slow acceptance of vaccination apart from other operational challenges. The challenges faced in delivering lifesaving vaccines need to be addressed from the existing knowledge and lessons must be learnt from past experiences."
The Vaccination Schedule under the UIP is as follows.
· BCG (Bacillus Calmette Guerin) 1 dose at Birth (up to 1 year if not given earlier).
· DPT (Diphtheria, Pertussis and Tetanus Toxoid) 5 doses; Three primary doses at 6 weeks, 10 weeks, and 14 weeks and two booster doses at 16-24 months and 5 Years of age.
· OPV (Oral Polio Vaccine) 5 doses; 0 dose at birth, three primary doses at 6,10 and 14 weeks and one booster dose at 16-24 months of age.
· Hepatitis B vaccine 4 doses; 0 dose within 24 hours of birth and three doses at 6, 10 and 14 weeks of age.
· Measles 2 doses; first dose at 9-12 months and second dose at 16-24months of age.
· TT (Tetanus Toxoid) 2 doses at 10 years and 16 years of age
· TT – for pregnant woman two doses or one dose if previously vaccinated within 3 Year
· In addition, the Japanese Encephalitis (JE vaccine) vaccine was introduced in 112 endemic districts in campaign mode in phased manner from 2006 to 2010 and has now been incorporated under the Routine Immunization Programme.
Dr K K aggarwal