Kolkata: West Bengal’s health department in association with UNICEF and Lions Club International will launch the state-wide measles-rubella (MR) vaccine campaign to the children between nine months and 15 years from January 9 to eradicate the deadly viral infection, which resurfaced in some pockets in the city and rural areas, official sources said.
” Our target is to vaccinate around 1 million children in Kolkata and 2.33 crore children in the districts of West Bengal, ‘ Department of Health and Family Welfare department’s senior official Dr Partha Dey told a media conference on Friday.
He said the measles rubella campaign has already been completed in 34 states/UTs and more than 33 crore children have been safely vaccinated with MR vaccine around the country.
The campaign in west Bengal starts from January 9 and ends on February 11, with the schools for the first three weeks and the fringe areas to cover the rest with the support of NGOs.
The latest vaccination launch is primarily an additional dose, an effort to eradicate the MR, which has been reported in some pockets of the state, Dr Dey confirmed. .
Accoridng to an official data in 2021, West Bengal reported around 649 measles cases.
The state also reported 175 cases of rubella in 2022, up from 142 cases in 2021, while Covid-19 had been creating havoc among the panicked people.
Another data showed the state had reported 1,804 measles cases in 2022, of which 132 were reported from Kolkata.
Rubella infection during pregnancy disables a child for life with Congenital Rubella Syndrome that may result in deafness, blindness and heart defects.
Another report said about 50,000 people across India are affected with rubella, of them 3000 in West Bengal every year..
Measles is a deadly disease and can lead to pneumonia, diarrhoea, and other life threatening complications.
” We can beat two diseases with one vaccine,” Dr Dey said. During the first three weeks, camps will be set up in schools to administer the vaccine. In the remaining two weeks, a mop-up campaign will be done so that those who missed out on the dose are convinced and taken to health centres and hospitals where the jab will be administered.