Immunisation Against Measles in India: 11L Children in India Missed 1st Measles Shot in ’22

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Immunisation Against Measles in India: 11L Children in India Missed 1st Measles Shot in ’22 Blog Image

What’s in Today's Article?

  • Why in News?
  • About Measles
  • Measles in India
  • Highlights of the WHO, CDC Report
  • How the Union Ministry of Health Family Welfare Responded to the Report?

Why in News?

  • According to a report by the World Health Organization (WHO) and US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 11 lakh children in India missed their crucial first dose of measles vaccine in 2022.
  • This puts India among 10 countries with the highest number of children who did not receive the first shot.

About Measles

  • Measles is a highly contagious infectious disease caused by measles virus (paramyxovirus family).
  • It is an airborne disease (transmission through small particles suspended in the air) which spreads easily from one person to another through the coughs and sneezes of infected people, affecting the nose, throat and lungs.
  • There are no specific treatments for measles, only measures to help alleviate the symptoms such as over-the-counter painkillers and fever reducers.
  • Getting the measles vaccine is the best way to protect against the virus. However, poor health services; low awareness; misinformation, mistrust and complacency leading to vaccine hesitancy are all contributing factors to inadequate immunisation rates.

Measles in India

  • Prevalence:
    • According to the latest measles surveillance data released by the WHO, India stood fourth (in 194 countries) in the number of measles cases registered (between July 2018 and June 2019).
    • India (39,299 cases) bagged the fourth spot after Madagascar, Ukraine and Philippines.
    • However, India had the lowest measles incidence rate per million (29.68) in the top 10 countries.
  • Initiatives:
    • India has set a goal of eliminating measles and controlling rubella by 2023 as part of a worldwide drive (if a country reduces rubella cases by 95% compared to 2008, it has achieved rubella control).
    • Mission Indradhanush has been launched by the Government of India (in 2014), to drive towards 90% full immunisation coverage of India and sustain the same by year 2020.
      • Under the mission, vaccination is being provided against eight vaccine-preventable diseases (measles is one among them) in selected states and districts respectively.
    • India has launched the world's largest Measles-Rubella (MR) immunisation campaign, with 410 million children and adolescents aged 9 months to 15 years receiving vaccination.
  • Challenge: Children under the age of one are the most vulnerable and this is the same age bracket where vaccination rates are the lowest.

Highlights of the WHO, CDC Report

  • Globally, immunisation against measles dropped to lowest levels since 2008 during the pandemic, leading to an 18% rise in cases and 43% increase in deaths in 2022.
  • Two doses of the measles vaccine offer 97% protection for life. The protection is likely to be weaker with a single dose.
    • 33 million children globally missed either both doses or second dose of measles in 2022.
  • India is among the 37 countries that witnessed large or disruptive outbreaks, reporting 40,967 measles cases in 2022.
  • An estimated 11 lakh children in India missed their crucial first dose of measles vaccine in 2022.
  • While the government has tried to catch up after the pandemic with Indradhanush to achieve the elimination target, India would need to vaccinate 95% of the children. 

How the Union Ministry of Health Family Welfare Responded to the Report?

  • This report is not based on facts and does not reflect the true picture.
  • It is based on the estimated number reported under WHO UNICEF Estimates National Immunisation Coverage (WUENIC) 2022 report which covers the time-period from January 1, 2022 to December 31, 2022.
  • However, as per the HMIS [Health Management Information System] of the Union Ministry of Health, a total of 2,63,63,270 children out of the eligible 2,63,84,580 children received their 1st dose of Measles Containing Vaccine (MCV).
    • This means only 21,310 children missed their 1st dose of MCV in the FY 2022-23 [April 2022 to March 2023].
  • Besides this, several initiatives like the Intensified Mission Indradhanush (IMI) 3.0 and 4.0 were carried out in 2021 and 2022 to vaccinate all unvaccinated or partially vaccinated children with missed or due doses of vaccines.
  • IMI 5.0 was carried out in 2023 with a special focus to increase the coverage of MR vaccine in children up to the age of five years.
  • Several states have carried out Supplementary Immunisation activities and outbreak response immunisation, wherein a total of 30 million children have been vaccinated with an additional dose of MR vaccine.

Q1) What is the Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP)?

UIP is a vaccination programme launched by the Government of India in 1985. It is currently one of the key areas under the National Health Mission since 2005.

Q2) What do you mean by vaccine hesitancy?

Vaccine hesitancy is defined as a “delay in acceptance or refusal of safe vaccines despite availability of vaccine services” by the WHO. Causes of vaccine hesitancy are complex and related to factors that change according to location and time and concerning different vaccines.

Source: 11 lakh children in India missed 1st measles shot in 2022: Report | TH