Manipur: Community myth keeping kids away from Measles/Rubella vaccination


IMPHAL, April 10, 2018: In an ironic case, a myth prevailing among the populace of a particular community has led to many refusing administration of Measles/Rubella (M/R) vaccine in Kshetrigao A/C.
Sources informed that false information, including claims that administering MR vaccine inhibits fertility and even cause termination of lives have been spreading/circulating through social media sites as well as verbally among the particular group of community.
Speaking to The Sangai Express, nurses and staff of an Urban Primary Health Centre (UPHC) informed that many parents from the particular community asked them not to administer MR vaccine to their children when they went to certain schools in Kshetrigao A/C for MR vaccine.
The number of students turning up for MR vaccination in most schools was also very low and there was even an instance of mass absence of students in a school after they were informed that a vaccination programme would be held.
In another instance, some parents of the students of a school have agreed to vaccinate their children only after the Headmaster of the said school brings his child and administers the MR vaccine in the school.
However, parents of students belonging to another community but studying in the same school have no objection to the MR vaccination and were all vaccinated, the source added.
The mass refusal from parents in administering MR vaccine has created a big problem for the staff of the UPHC and it has hampered the MR vaccination campaign in the area under the UPHC's jurisdiction, a senior nurse asserted.
She continued that the vaccination campaign will have to be repeated in many schools as the students' turnout there was very low. According to the information culled from the UPHC, altogether 13 schools of Kshetrigao A/C have to be covered by the UPHC for the MR vaccination campaign.
Vaccinating 1500 students is the target, and a large portion of the target has been covered, she added.
When asked whether proper awareness have been provided to the schools prior to the scheduled days of vaccination, the senior nurse replied that joint meetings of the staff of UPHC, including doctors and Principals/Headmasters and teachers of the respective schools were conducted and they have all been sensitized about the campaign before the vaccination programme began.
She opined that a thick cloud of myth prevailing among the masses of the particular community has led to the current situation and it would be difficult to wipe out the myth. Reminding that MR vaccination campaign will conclude on April 30, the senior nurse sought the help of the media in disseminating information of the campaign to the masses.
It may be mentioned that Manipur, with technical support from its development partners (WHO, UNICEF, UNDP) launched the Measles-Rubella (MR) vaccination campaign on March 26 to vaccinate all children between nine months and below 15 years of age, with MR (Measles and Rubella) vaccine. The Departments of Health and Education are partnering with schools to ensure students and teachers participate in the MR campaign.
Across all the districts of the State, both the Government and the private schools are playing an important role in the campaign by taking necessary initiatives to ensure that all children in the target age group are vaccinated during the campaign. The State Government aims to achieve the target of more than 95% coverage by the end of April.

Source: The Sangai Express

Image Courtesy: Stay Healthy KC