Ministry of health and family welfare has completed the first phase of the Measles-Rubella vaccination campaign – the largest ever vaccination campaign in the world aiming to cover approximately 41 crore children. Approximately 3.3 crore children (97% of the intended age group) were vaccinated in the first phase in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Goa, Lakshadweep and Puducherry.
More commonly known as German Measles, congenital rubella infection is believed to affect approximately 25,000 children born in India every year. According to a study by the University College of Medical Sciences, Delhi, “1-15% of all infants suspected to have intra-uterine infection were found to have laboratory evidence of CRS (congenital rubella syndrome). About 3-10% of suspected CRS cases are ultimately proven to have confirmed CRS with the aid of laboratory tests. CRS accounts for 10-15% of pediatric cataract. 10-50% of children with congenital anomalies have laboratory evidence of CRS. 10-30% of adolescent females and 12-30% of women in the reproductive age-group are susceptible to rubella infection in India.”
India, along with ten other WHO South East Asia Region member countries, have resolved to eliminate measles and control rubella/congenital rubella syndrome (CRS) by 2020. Under the measles-rubella (MR) vaccination campaign, all children in the age group of 9 months to less than 15 years will be vaccinated in a phased manner across the nation. Following the campaign, MR vaccine will become a part of routine immunization and will replace measles vaccine, currently given at 9-12 months and 16-24 months of age of child.
The next round will be in 8 states/UTs (Andhra Pradesh, Chandigarh, Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Daman & Diu, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Telangana and Uttarakhand) from August 2017, aiming to cover 3.4 crore children.