Measles-rubella vaccine drive: Schools face opposition from parents

January 23, 2017 11:40 pm | Updated 11:40 pm IST - Bengaluru:

The State government’s ambitious vaccination drive in schools where students below the age of 15 are to be administered a single shot of the combined measles-rubella (MR) vaccine next month may hit a roadblock.

Parents of children from top private schools in the city have told managements that they will not give consent for the vaccination, and have urged schools not to administer it.

In the wake of vehement protests by parents, schools who have received circulars about the vaccination drive, which is scheduled to commence early February, are planning to inform officials of the Department of Public Instruction about the opposition.

Dakshayani Kanna, principal of Harvest International School, said she had convened a meeting with the parents and had later sent consent forms to them. “But 90% of the 1,200 parents have not given consent. We will arrange a meeting with doctors, but ultimately the decision rests with the parents,” she said and added that majority of the children have already been vaccinated by the older vaccine for measles, mumps and rubella.

Schools have been told by government officials to prepare a list of students younger than 15 on their rolls, including those who have not been vaccinated, and share it with the Health Department. They have also been asked to identify a nodal officer per school, assign a teacher for each section, and conduct an orientation for the staff. Apart from these measures, schools have to organise an art competition on measles and rubella to create awareness among students.

Mansoor Ali Khan, board member, Delhi Public Group of Schools, said that they were not comfortable with conducting immunisation programmes at the school. “The government can do it in a local hospital where it is safer,” he said.

Gayatri Ananth of the parents’ group, Vigilant Citizen, who met the Health Department officials, said they were told that parents’ consent was essential and the vaccination was not mandatory.

Awarness programmes

Meanwhile, an Education Department official said they would conduct awareness programmes among parents to brief them on the immunisation campaign.

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