In Chennai, the mass rubella-measles vaccination drive was going on, which has to provide vaccine about 1.8 crore children across the state and it is to be completed in the month. But, the officials of the Health Department have confirmed that they have fallen behind the schedule, as thousands of parents have refused to allow their children to have the vaccine. Officials are blaming the ill-informed activists who are creating fear among the people by using media and social sites and they are telling them that many of the vaccine are needless and they even destroy the immune system and can cause diseases.
Actions taken by the officials!
Officials at the directorate of public health have meet some of the activists, some of whom include doctors, to threat them to file complaints if they continue to spread false rumours.The officials have also approached the medical council to complain against a few doctors. The Child Rights Commission has also been informed about four other persons who are involved in spreading the rumours.
What do the activists say?
Activists are saying that science is on their side and the mass drive of this sort is not justified Kalpakkam-based doctor-turned-activist V Pugazhenthi can be seen on the TV on a frequent basis during his campaign against the vaccination. He said that “Published studies, including those in the British Medical Journal say that mass vaccination is used only when 5% of the population is affected and at least 1% is dead. Besides, we are vaccinating children up to 15 years, whereas the vaccine is recommended only for children under six. Even independent studies recommending mass vaccinations have prescribed only rubella vaccine for adolescent girls. The safety and efficacy of these vaccines are not even tested on children above five years,”
What do the doctors have to say?
Erode-based pediatrician Dr A Arunkumar, has confirmed his facts by saying that “You can’t cherry-pick facts from medical journals. The article in the said medical journal talks about flu vaccination. But the measles-rubella vaccine is manufactured by an Indian company and has been approved for use by Indian drug authorities,”. He added, if the program is started without vaccinating older children, they will be at the risk of getting rubella.
The drive is aimed at giving rubella-shots to the children between the age group of 9 months and 15 years. Rubella is a German Measles, an airborne disease and is common in children, where complications or death is rare. If a pregnant lady gets infected with rubella, the child will born with deformities in the heart, eyes or brain.
We have eliminated diseases like polio from our country and I believe we can eliminate others too. These old orthodoxy views of the activists will become a barrier between children and their health. The parents need to understand the practicality of the situation and instead of getting afraid of rumours. If you have doubts, then consult the doctors. You on your own will be responsible for your child’s illness, so take a step now!