Even as the World Immunisation Day is observed on Sunday (November 10), the Indian Public Health Association (IPHA) has expressed concern over the large number of children missing the ‘right dose at right time at the right age’ despite the availability of vaccines.
The association has pointed out that despite the presence of a strong public health machinery, 10 per cent of the children in the country are missing the mandatory vaccination against certain diseases.
Speaking to The Hindu on Saturday, IPHA State president and former Director of Public Health S. Elango said the State government should launch a campaign to identify children up to two years of age who had missed vaccination.
“All infants must be vaccinated against polio, measles, diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis.
Though the levels of immunisation and evaluation are good in Tamil Nadu, surveys revealed that a large number of newborns/infants are not vaccinated,” he noted.
According to Dr.Elango, around 11.5 lakh children are born in Tamil Nadu every year and it is the responsibility of the public health authorities to ensure that not a single child misses the immunisation schedule prescribed by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
“Three DPT doses, three polio vaccine doses, one BCG dose and one measles dose are essential for children. The immunisation rate is high in the State, but unless a child gets all these doses, there is a threat of morbidity or mortality,” Dr.Elango cautioned.
“National-level surveys conducted by global agencies and non-governmental organisations revealed that 61 per cent of children in India were fully immunised. In Tamil Nadu, it was 76 per cent. A large number of infants are still partially immunised or totally unimmunised,” he added.
Dr.Elango said 2.5 per cent of the children in the State fell under the completely unimmunised category,.
“It is high time we widened the immunisation coverage. Otherwise, it will turn out to be a challenge to public health at a time when we are on the verge of eradicating diseases,” he noted.