Hyderabad: About 120 schools in the Old City have sent letters of refusal to health authorities in regard to the measles – rubella vaccination camps, according to Dr. G. Sudhera, programme officer, health department. “The immunisation programme has also been ineffective in certain schools where the staff, swayed by rumours spread through the social media, tendered ‘frank refusals’ or hindered the in-school immunisation drive,” Ms Sudhera said.
In Hyderabad, of the 3,639 schools 2,090 have been covered so far. In 30 per cent of these 2,000-odd schools, nearly 60 per cent of children have refused vaccination in the Old City area, she said. To allay the apprehensions, the Helping Hand Foundation, in association with UNICED, WHO country office, Centre for Disease Control – USA and TS health department held panel discussions on Thursday on ‘Debugging Myths of Measles – Rubella’ vaccine. Renowned doctors and Muslim scholars were present.
Mufti Mahmood Zubair Qasmi, who was present at discussion, said that there was a conspiracy against the residents of Old City. He urged the mothers and parents to cooperate in the vaccination drive and help eliminate measles and rubella.
MR vaccine fear: State takes help of Muslim elders
Following rumours spread on social media that the ongoing measles and rubella vaccination campaign among students was targeted at making Muslim kids impotent, the Hyderabad revenue department is holding meetings with Muslim religious leaders and madrasa managements. The rumour began in May in Haryana and rural Assam and spread to Tamil Nadu and Karnataka before making its reappearance when the Telangana state administration took up the immunisation drive.
Hyderabad joint collector M. Prashanthi said, “Last week we held a meeting with imams, religious leaders and madrasa managements to clarify on the MR vaccine. We are also creating awareness among parents.” Senior gynaecologist Dr Anagani Manjula said there was no medicine that makes one impotent. A pediatrician from the city Dr Arif, said the MR vaccine was safe and could be given to children.
“Except for side-effects like fever or rashes, children will have no other health related issues,” he said. Senior pediatrician Dr Farhan Shaikh said the MR vaccine should be given to children age of between nine months and 15 years to protect them from the diseases. “It is compulsory for the good health of every child and parents must not believe rumours floating on social media,” he said.