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Rumour hits measles and rubella vaccination drive in Assam

Rumour hits measles and rubella vaccination drive in Assam

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  22 Oct 2018 8:26 PM GMT

STAFF REPORTER

GUWAHATI: Dispur’s ambitious programme to vaccinate 1.1 crore children in the State against fatal measles and rubella virus has hit hurdles due to rumour and misinformation campaign being spread among a large section of Muslims.

Even though the vaccination drive was started in the middle of August this year, the drive has so far touched only 26 lakh children. The vaccination drive has 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 Illias Ali, a renowned surgeon told The Sentinel on Monday that some unscrupulous and anti-social elements are spreading rumour that administration of measles and rubella vaccines will result in infertility and impotency. He said a large section of Muslims especially in rural and interior areas are made to believe that the vaccination drive is aimed at reducing Muslim population in the State.

“Administration of measles and rubella virus is completely safe and no way related to infertility and impotency. It is unfortunate that a section of Muslims are not coming forward to make their children vaccinated. We are now trying our best to remove such misconception and creating massive awareness campaign. We are involving Muslim religious leaders to encourage parents to send their children for vaccination drive,” Dr Ali who is associated with the vaccination drive said. He hoped that the Muslim parents will soon send their children for such vaccination drive.

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. The measles viral infection spreads via respiratory secretions. Assam is conducting the MR vaccination campaign as part of the national strategy to eliminate measles and control rubella in the country. Vaccines are being administered among children aged in between nine months and 15 years.

Dr Ali assured that the MR vaccine is very safe and effective and has been in use for the last 40 years worldwide.

“These vaccines have already been administered on over 8 crore children in eight states, including Manipur, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh. There has been not a single case of side affects from these states and so we want all children between nine months to 15 years to be covered,” Dr Ali said.

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