THIRUVANATHAPURAM: At a time when the LDF government is actively considering the new State Health Policy recommendation on making vaccination cards mandatory for school admission, the education minister’s reply to a question in the Assembly that the proposal was not before his minister has raised eyebrows. In a written question, Parakkal Adbulla’s MLA wanted to know if production of vaccination certificate mandatory for school admissions now? If not is the government considering making such vaccination certificates mandatory?
In his reply, C. Raveendranath said vaccinations certificate was not mandatory at the moment. But what has astonished health experts is his reply that no proposal for making vaccination cards mandatory was under consideration of the government.
The Cabinet on February 20 had approved the new state health policy framed by a team led by Planning Board member B. Ekbal. One of the major recommendations of the policy was to make vaccination cards mandatory for children seeking admission to first standard. Many say that in his reply the education minister could have mentioned about the state health policy proposal on vaccination cards and the fact that the government was examining it. The proposal to make vaccination cards mandatory for admission came in the wake of stiff resistance witnessed in some parts of the state to vaccination programmes incl-uding MR Vaccination.
It may be recalled that Niti Aayog health index had also hinted at declining vaccination coverage of children below 1 year in the state. The vaccination coverage had dropped from 95.5 pc in 2014-15 to 94.6 pc now. Experts say 1 per cent decline in vaccination coverage could not be taken lightly. It is in this context that they say education minister’s reply in Assembly could send wrong signals and could be distorted by anti vaccine campaigners who are quite active in some parts of the state....