Measles campaign across Nagaland touches 90%
Dimapur, Nov. 3 (EMN): The department of Health & Family Welfare of Nagaland has been “relentlessly encouraging” and educating children, parents and the community to support and come forward in eliminating measles from Nagaland, the health authorities in the state say. The progress is good but more needs to be done, the directorate of Health & Family Welfare implied in a press release on Saturday.
The coverage percentage of the MRVC, or measles rubella vaccination campaign, stands at 90.14% with a total 40, 4034 children having been vaccinated, the press release stated.
The department is informing the public about some important aspects of getting vaccinated. When a high percentage of the population is vaccinated, the department stated, it is ‘difficult for infectious diseases to spread because there are not many people who can be infected.’
‘For example, if someone with measles is surrounded by people who are vaccinated against measles, the disease cannot easily be passed on to anyone, and it will quickly disappear again,’ the press release stated. ‘This is called ‘herd immunity,’ ‘community immunity’ or ‘herd protection’, and it gives protection to vulnerable people such as newborn babies, elderly people and those who are too sick to be vaccinated.’
Herd immunity only works if most people in the population are vaccinated. For instance, 19 out of every 20 people need to be vaccinated against measles to protect people who are not vaccinated. If people are not vaccinated, herd immunity is not guaranteed to protect them, the health department stated.
“If you live in an area where vaccine coverage is low, and your child is not vaccinated, it’s quite likely that many of the people they come into contact with will not be vaccinated either. If one of these people gets an infectious disease like measles, they can easily pass it on to the other unvaccinated people around them, and in some cases the disease can then spread very quickly through the population.”
According to the department, some people in the community rely on herd immunity to protect them. These groups are particularly vulnerable, but often cannot safely receive vaccines, the press release stated. The groups are people without a fully-working immune system including those without a working spleen; people on chemotherapy treatment whose immune system is weakened; people with HIV; babies who are too young to be vaccinated; elderly people; many of those who are very ill in hospital.
“For these people, herd immunity is a vital way of protecting them against life-threatening disease.
Every responsible parent and community should take this task as a moral and social responsibility towards making the society free from such vaccine preventable diseases, it stated.
“Once the campaign is over, MR vaccine will be available only under routine immunization which will be administered only at 9 months and 16 months to a child and hence older children will not be able to avail this vaccine anymore,” the health and Family Welfare department stated. “Therefore, all are reminded not to miss this opportunity and visit any government health facility for vaccination at the earliest.”