Parents still worried about MR vaccine, even as health officials allay fears

The State government is set to start a massive vaccination drive where 1.74 crore children above nine months and below 15 years will get a single shot of the combined measles-rubella (MR) vaccine. But several parents in Bengaluru, who have already got their children vaccinated, have started an online petition and are questioning the rationale behind making the vaccine mandatory. This, despite assurances from health officials that the vaccine does not have an adverse effect on the child.

Charmaine D., mother of a five-year-old, said her daughter had been immunised with the vaccine as part of the routine immunisation campaign. “It is worrying as to why the government is pushing vaccination on such a large scale,” she said.

Several parents who are part of different groups on social networking sites such as ‘Vaccines - Your right to question’ and ‘Bangalore Schools’ have joined the petition.

A section of parents are also demanding that the Health Department convene a meeting to address the concerns of parents before the drive begins.

D. Shashi Kumar, general secretary, Associated Managements of Primary and Secondary Schools in Karnataka, said representatives of the World Health Organization and officials of Health and Family Welfare had conducted a meeting with school managements and explained the benefits of the additional dose. “However, all stakeholders need to educate parents about the benefits of this so that they do not panic. School managements should take the lead to educate parents,” he said.

State Deputy Director (Immunisation) Ramachandra Bairy said every child, irrespective of he or she having been vaccinated earlier or not, had to be covered under the mass immunisation programme. He reiterated that there was no adverse effect on the child even if he or she had been vaccinated earlier. “If parents of students in private schools do not want their children to be pricked by government vaccinators, they can get the dose administered by their paediatrician and show us the card,” he said.

Currently, all children receive two doses of measles vaccine at 9 to 12 months and 16 to 23 months under routine immunisation programme. “Both these doses will be replaced by a combined MR injection from February and every child has to be compulsorily covered under this mass immunisation programme, he said.

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Printable version | Oct 18, 2021 6:54:07 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/Parents-still-worried-about-MR-vaccine-even-as-health-officials-allay-fears/article17020334.ece

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