Girls from classes 8 to 12 to be vaccinated

The Kerala Social Security Mission (KSSM) will embark on a massive vaccination drive against rubella among adolescent girls in the State from February 3. The two-week immunisation programme in schools, conducted with the support of the departments of Health and Education, will mainly target girls from classes VIII to XII.

T.P. Ashraf, Executive Director of KSSM, said students would not be compelled to undergo vaccination. “Awareness campaigns have been conducted and children and parents convinced of its benefits,” he said.

Explaining the motive of the drive, Dr. Ashraf said the vaccination would help reduce rubella-related congenital deformities. To mobilise parents’ support, the KSSM and the Health Department would launch a mass media campaign in the State from February 1. This would be followed by a number of awareness programmes targeting students.

The network of the Health Department would be utilised for the drive, which would go on till February 15. A separate team of doctors would be formed in each district to attend cases on medical reactions, if any, after vaccination. District Medical Officers and the Deputy Director of Education would be given the charge of coordinating the programme and fixing the date for vaccination after the awareness programmes.

The State government would invest Rs.7 crore to implement the first phase of the project under the State Initiative on Disabilities. The Kerala Medical Services Corporation would supply the required quantity of vaccine as per the request of the KSSM.

Dr. Ashraf, who is also the project director of the State Initiative on Disabilities, said the drive would cover 7,94,512 adolescent girls in the first phase across the State. “The class-wise record of vaccination will be kept at the department for future references and to cover the left-out population in the next academic year,” he added.

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