All children aged between 9 months and less than 15 years of age will be given a single shot of Measles-Rubella (MR) vaccine irrespective of their previous Measles/Rubella vaccination status or Measles/Rubella disease status. MR vaccine will be provided free of cost across the state from session sites, at schools, in the community as well as health facilities. This will be an additional dose for all children in the target age group and will give additional protection, if earlier doses have not been fully effective.MR Vaccine has been administered by private sector for many decades as part of MMR vaccine. MR Vaccine is now included in Government’s Universal Immunization Programme, replacing Measles Vaccine.
The West Bengal Academy of Pediatrics (WBAP) is committed to stand by the Government in all such matters of immense Public health importance.
There is no treatment for Measles and Rubella which are viral diseases but safe and effective vaccines are available for protection from both the diseases. Measles is a deadly disease and one of the important causes of death in children. It is highly contagious and spreads through droplet infection – coughing and sneezing of infected persons. Even after recovery, Measles makes a child vulnerable to life-threatening complications like pneumonia, diarrhea and brain infection. India alone accounts for 36% (49,200 children) of the 134,200 deaths globally due to Measles infection every year – mostly under-5 years. (WER No. 45, 2016, 91, 525-536).
Rubella is generally a mild infection but has serious consequences if infection occurs in pregnant women causing congenital Rubella syndrome (CRS). CRS is characterized by congenital anomalies in the foetus and newborns affecting the eyes (glaucoma, cataract), ears (hearing loss), brain (microcephaly, mental retardation) and heart defects causing a huge socio-economic burden on the families in particular and society in general. Worldwide, over 1 lakh babies are born with CRS every year and it is estimated that 40 – 50,000 occur in India alone (Vynncky E et al 2016).This is the reason of CRS being a serious public health concern.
Hence, the MRV Campaign has been launched with the aim of Elimination of Measles, a killer disease among children, and the Control of Congenital Rubella Syndrome, the cause of serious neurological and cardiological defects among new-borns if infection occurs during pregnancy.
At the National level, MRV Campaign has a target of providing protection to 41 crore children of the age group of 9 months to 15 years. The campaign is being conducted in phases and more than 13 crore children have already been vaccinated in 28 states/UTs. Since most of the target population comprise of school going children, the vaccination sessions will be conducted at schools as well as in health facilities and outreach sessions.
On this occasion at today’s Press Meet at Press Club Kolkata DR. Suresh Thakur & DR. Kaninika Mitra from UNICEF, DR. Debashish Roy & DR. Jayesh Mehta from WHO, DR. Arun Manglik , DR. Pallab Chatterjee & Prof. DR. Mousumi Nandi from West Bengal Academy of Pediatricshave graced the occasion with their august presence, addressed the press and called the people of West Bengal through media to work together for a Measles & Rubella Free World.