40% of children are not fully vaccinated, says NSO report

Although almost all children in India are vaccinated against tuberculosis, and receive their birth dose of polio vaccine, two out of five children do not complete their immunisation programme, according to the ‘Health in India’ report recently published by the National Statistical Organisation (NSO). Most of these children remain unprotected against measles, and partially protected against a range of other diseases. In the national capital, less than half of all children have been given all eight required vaccines.

40% of children are not fully vaccinated, says NSO report

The report is based on the 75th round of the National Sample Survey (July 2017-June 2018) on household social consumption related to health.

Across the country, only 59.2% of children under five years are fully immunised, according to the NSO report. This contradicts the Centre’s Health Management Information System portal data, which claimed that full immunisation coverage for 2017-18 stood at 86.7%.

Full immunisation means that a child receives a cocktail of eight vaccine doses in the first year of life: the BCG vaccine injected in a single dose shortly after birth, which protects against a childhood attack of tuberculosis; the measles vaccine; the oral polio vaccine (OPV) whose first dose is given at birth, followed by two more doses at intervals of four weeks; and the DPT/pentavalent vaccine, generally injected in three doses, which is meant to protect a child from diphtheria, pertussis or whooping cough, tetanus, Hepatitis B, and meningitis and pneumonia caused by hemophilus influenza type B. Booster doses for OPV and DPT are also given between 16 and 24 months.

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About 97% of children across the country received at least one vaccination — mostly BCG and/or the first dose of OPV at birth — a statistic that remains steady across income groups and geographies. However, only 67% of children are protected against measles. Only 58% got their polio booster dose, while 54% got their DPT booster dose.

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Among States, Manipur (75%), Andhra Pradesh (73.6%) and Mizoram (73.4%) recorded the highest rates of full immunisation. At the other end of the spectrum lies Nagaland, where only 12% of children received all vaccinations, followed by Puducherry (34%) and Tripura (39.6%).

The vast majority of these vaccinations — 95% in rural India and 86% in cities — were carried out in government health facilities and primary health centres which will be the same facilities used to distribute and administer the COVID-19 vaccine whenever it is made available.

The pandemic has already impacted the childhood vaccination programme, however, with an April 2020 study conducted by the advocacy group Child Rights and You finding that only half of Indian families with children under five years were able to access immunisation services during the lockdown.

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Printable version | Apr 15, 2021 5:07:52 PM |

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