A total of 1.54 crore children have been administered the Measles-Rubella vaccination in Tamil Nadu overcoming rumours in social media against the drive, Health Minister C Vijaya Baskar told the state Assembly on Tuesday. He said the vaccination will continued to be provided till this month end to children aged between nine months and 15 years. Later it will be covered in the regular vaccination drive.
“Out of the targeted 1.76 crore children, vaccination has been given to 1.54 crore children,” he said replying to DMK member Poongothai Aladi Aruna who moved a Calling attention motion on the issue. Supporting the vaccination drive, Aruna said only if the plan was implemented well, would the goal of eliminating the viral diseases by 2020 could be achieved.
Tabling a report, the Minister said Tamil Nadu which was a “role model” in implementing health care initiatives pitched for the vaccination drive with the Centre and it was among the three states and two Union Territories (Tamil Nadu, Goa, Karnataka, Puducherry and Lakshadweep) to get it.
Tamil Nadu was a pioneering State in implementing the National Immunisation Programme and for the past 12 years there had been zero incidence of polio in the State, he added. He said, however, the vaccination drive faced rumours against it in the social media. Hence, awareness drive was launched through avenues including social media, newspapers, and television to drive home the need for the vaccine. Parents and students were sensitised, he added.
Also, he said a complaint was lodged with the cyber crime police against those who had been spreading rumours against the government’s initiative.
Also, WHO representative to India, Dr Henk Bekedam, during his visit to vaccination camp here had vouched for the quality and safety of the vaccine, he said. The Minister quoted Henk as saying that more than 100 countries used the same vaccine produced at the Pune based Serum Institute of India and the vaccine was of top standards, he said.
A panel comprising state level technical advisory group on immunisation, WHO and UNICEF experts prepared the roadmap for implementing the vaccination drive in Tamil Nadu, he noted.