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Posted at: Jan 11, 2019, 9:01 AM; last updated: Jan 11, 2019, 9:01 AM (IST)MEASLES-RUBELLA VACCINATION

Around 300 schools opt out of drive

Ananya Panda

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 10

Over 300 private schools, including elite, madrasas and unrecognised institutions, in the national capital have opted out of the Measles-Rubella Vaccination (MRV) campaign which is all set to kick off on January 16, a day after its official launch in Delhi.

Within five weeks, the campaign, jointly being undertaken by the UNICEF, WHO and the Directorate of Family Welfare (DFW) of the Delhi government, targets to cover 55 lakh children in the city falling in the age group of nine months to less than 15 years.

Speaking to The Tribune state immunisation officer (DFW) Dr Suresh Seth said, “Barring three elite schools which gave in writing there were no blank refusals. Initially, around 340 schools had been reluctant in allowing the drive citing various reasons, but we have managed to convince many of them with just 304 schools currently saying no.”

Dr Seth said more late conversions are expected once the campaign begins and meetings regarding this were held with Rotary Club and Lions Club this evening with both agreeing to adopt schools.

Dr Seth said the strategy is to cover all children till Class X and in the first two weeks from January 16, the campaign will cover around 5,700 educational institutions, including playschools, followed by the outreach session sites that include over 7,000 crèches and community areas where each day the target will be to immunise 150 children.

DFW Director Dr Nutan Mundeja said the biggest challenge before the health officials has been getting schools on board as around 300 schools have still not agreed to participate in the campaign.

“Around 9,700 educational institutions identified, around 300 have not agreed to join the campaign. This includes elite.... it is here we are facing the problem of trust. There are clear-cut guidelines about using the MR vaccine. A vaccine kept outside for three hours is discarded and syringes are auto-disabled. 

“The 300 schools are under the apprehension that they don’t need it,” said Dr Nutan.

Dr Pradeep Haldar, Deputy Commissioner (Immunisation), Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, asserted that the MRV does not have a 100 per cent knock-out (elimination of the disease) and five per cent are likely to be at risk.

“The dose will result in 95 per cent protection and our goal is elimination,” Dr Pradeep said.

Dr Seth said the additional “campaign dose” is to be given to all children irrespective of whether or not they have been administered it before and is to expand the outreach of immunisation.

Currently, as a part of the country’s Universal Immunisation Programme, rechristened as essential immunisation programme in Delhi, Delhi adopted the single dose of MRV sixth months ago.

“There are around 400 madrasas in the city and we took the imams into the loom and awareness materials were published and distributed,” said Dr Seth earlier.

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