GUWAHATI: After initial reluctance, Muslim parents are now allowing their children to get vaccinated against fatal rubella and measles virus.
The vaccination drive against rubella and measles virus had almost come to a halt in several Muslim majority districts following rumour and misinformation campaign that administration of such vaccines results in infertility and impotency.
Dr Ilias Ali, a renowned surgeon who was engaged by Dispur to do away with misgivings about the vaccines among Muslim parents told The Sentinel on Monday that effective awareness campaigns and involvement religious leaders to sensitize parents have yielded positive results. He said many Muslim parents are now coming forward with their children to participate in the vaccination drive.
Till the last month the vaccination drive had covered only 26 lakh children against the State Government’s target of administering the vaccines among 1.1 crore children. The prime reason for such low vaccination coverage was rumour and misinformation campaign in Muslim dominated areas. But going by fresh encouragement among Muslim parents the vaccination drive is likely cover more than 50 lakh children by the end of November. Going by the present trend the drive is expected to cover 70 lakh children by the end of December.
Dr Ali said measles is a life threatening disease, which spreads through virus. Whereas Rubella-infected adults especially women in early pregnancy may result in congenital rubella syndrome which can be greatly harmful for fetus and new born baby. Rubella is an infectious yet mild viral illness affecting both children and adults that can cause death and disabilities in the newborn if an unprotected pregnant woman gets infected with rubella virus in early pregnancy. Nearly 49,000 children die in India because of measles and rubella every year.