Tirunelveli: Health sector activists here have charged the social media with playing ‘spoil sport’ against the renewed Measles-Rubella (MR) vaccination drive in the state by spreading wild rumours about the first phase of the programme for children between nine months and below 15 years in Tamil Nadu. So far, hardly 20 per cent of the children in the schools have been administered the vaccine till February 16, amid fears the programme has slowed down.
According to Dr S Thirumalai Kolundu, the president of the Tamil Nadu chapter of Indian Academy of Pediatrics (IAP) the private school managements were sending consent forms instead of informing the parents about the positive aspects of the MR vaccination. This has made many parents choose “No” to administer the vaccine for their respective wards.
The IAP, said to have been planning to create a mass awareness campaign in the issue in co-ordination with the Unicef and the state Health department, had also requested the private clinics in the state to stop at least for a brief period so as to ensure the many of the children of the 1.8 crore in the age group of 9 months and 15 years in Tamil Nadu get the vaccination free of cost.
“This will also help wipe out the allegation that the private hospitals and doctors are behind the false propaganda made through social media against the Union government’s ambitious MR vaccination drive,” added the IAP state president.
The IAP president too appealed the parents not to panic over rumours as the vaccination is not an imported one and has been used in private hospitals for the past 35 years.
“The Government has now introduced it free of cost in phased manner by selecting five states, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Lakshadweep, Goa and Pondicherry in the first phase,”clarified the pediatrician.
According to Dr Jagadeesan of Unicef, who manages the implementation of the MR vaccination drive in the state, only 20 per cent of the total number of 1.80 crore children targeted in the state were vaccinated in the first eight working days till February 16.
“We are to cover the maximum in the remaining eight working days till the end of this month,” said Unicef officer. In Tirunelveli district of the targeted 7.63-lakh children in around 2,700 schools and 2,530 anganwadis only 1,59,090 got vaccinated till February 16. In the third week of the programmed, “we are to reach out to the non-school going children and the children of migrant families in the district through our village health nurses (VHNs),” said a health department official, adding, that a total of 572 health workers including doctors, nurses and VHNs’ were being involved in the MR vaccination drive in Tirunelveli district.
Parents protest vaccinating students at private school
Parent of children studying in a private school in Erode gheraoed the institution on Friday against vaccinating the students for measles-rubella.
As there were lots of rumours doing the rounds in social media against these vaccinations, the parents did not want their children studying at Christ Jothi Higher secondary school on Bhavani Road near Erode to be administered with the vaccine.
Following the protest the Erode corporation city health officer, Ms. Sumathi reached the spot and assured the agitating parents that their children will not be vaccinated without their permission. They then left the spot.