Post Mortem

The quest to achieve 100% immunity from Measles and Rubella

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 11/3/2018 12:20:55 PM IST

 The Department of Health & Family Welfare Nagaland has been relentlessly encouraging and sensitizing children, parents and the community to support and come forward in eliminating measles from our State controlling rubella diseases through MR vaccination. The coverage percentage of Nagaland MRVC stands at 90.14% with a total of 404304 children successfully vaccinated through numerous school and outreach sessions throughout Nagaland.

With only a few days left to conclude the Campaign, the Department takes this privilege to elucidate on a few things based on which the whole Campaign has been designed by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, GOI.

When a high percentage of the population is vaccinated, it is difficult for infectious diseases to spread, because there are not many people who can be infected. For example, if someone with measles is surrounded by people who are vaccinated against measles, the disease cannot easily be passed on to anyone, and it will quickly disappear again. This is called ‘herd immunity’, ‘community immunity’ or ‘herd protection’, and it gives protection to vulnerable people such as newborn babies, elderly people and those who are too sick to be vaccinated.

Herd immunity only works if most people in the population are vaccinated (for example, 19 out of every 20 people need to be vaccinated against measles to protect people who are not vaccinated). If people are not vaccinated, herd immunity is not guaranteed to protect them.

If you live in an area where vaccine coverage is low, and your child is not vaccinated, it’s quite likely that many of the people they come into contact with will not be vaccinated either. If one of these people gets an infectious disease like measles, they can easily pass it on to the other unvaccinated people around them, and in some cases the disease can then spread very quickly through the population.

Unlike vaccination, herd immunity does not give a high level of individual protection, and so it is not a good alternative to getting vaccinated.

Some people in the community rely on herd immunity to protect them. These groups are particularly vulnerable to disease, but often cannot safely receive vaccines:

• People without a fully-working immune system, including those without a working spleen.

• People on chemotherapy treatment whose immune system is weakened.

• People with HIV.

• Newborn babies who are too young to be vaccinated.

• Elderly people.

• Many of those who are very ill in hospital.

For these people, herd immunity is a vital way of protecting them against life-threatening disease.

The requirement for all children between 9 months upto 15 years who are most susceptible to getting infected with Measles and Rubella to be 100% vaccinated with MR vaccine is of the highest priority for the success of this National Campaign towards making our State free from these life-threatening diseases. Every responsible parent and community should take this task as a moral and social responsibility towards making our society free from such vaccine preventable diseases for which there are no guaranteed treatment methods.

Once the campaign is over, MR vaccine will be available only under routine immunization which will be administered only at 9 mths and 16 months to a child and hence older children will not be able to avail this vaccine anymore. Therefore, all are reminded not to miss this opportunity and visit any government health facility for vaccination at the earliest.

 

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