Millennium Post

Children without vaccination prone to infectious diseases

Children without vaccination prone to infectious diseases

New Delhi: Children within the age group of 12-23 months falling outside the vaccination coverage in the national capital are at an increased risk of contracting deadly infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, measles, and polio as more than a quarter are not fully immunised without receiving vaccines for BCG, measles, and 3 doses each of polio, and DPT. "With 68.8 per cent children fully immunised, those outside the vaccination coverage in the national capital are at an increased risk of contracting deadly infectious diseases including tuberculosis, measles, and polio," expert said.

Immunisation makes a child immune or resistant to an infectious disease, typically by the administration of a vaccine within 5 years after birth in a phased manner. Vaccines stimulate the body's immune system to protect the person against subsequent infection or disease. "The children who were not immunised face an increased risk and may pave way for wider prevalence of infectious diseases. They are also likely to die at a very young age. It is a dependable tool that controls and eliminates life-threatening infectious diseases and prevents an estimated 2 to 3 million deaths annually. It is one of the most cost-effective health investments, with proven strategies that allow its access to the most remote and vulnerable populations. With clearly defined target groups, immunization can be delivered effectively through outreach activities, and vaccination does not require any major lifestyle change," said Dr Raghuram Mallaiah, Director, Neonatology, at a private hospital.

Doctors said that an evenly-targeted immunisation programme has ability to effectively reduce the burden of vaccine-preventable diseases (VPDs) and contribute to achieve the Millennium Development Goal 4 (MDG4) targets as specified by the United Nations.

"Not maintaining optimum rates of immunisation hampers "herd immunity" and the diseases that vaccines prevent may return. These diseases may spread in spite of better hygiene, sanitation and clean water. Diseases that we do not hear much of now, such as pertussis (whooping cough), polio and measles, may quickly reappear if we fail to immunise our children against VPDs," says Dr Raghuram Mallaiah.

"Mission Indradhanush" was introduced in India in 2014 that aims to receive full immunization coverage of 90 per cent and sustain the same by year 2020. The scheme delivers vaccination against eight diseases across the country, such as Diphtheria, Pertussis, Tetanus, Polio, Measles, severe form of childhood Tuberculosis, and Hepatitis B and Meningitis and Pneumonia caused by Haemophilus influenza type B as well as Rotavirus Diarrhoea, and Japanese Encephalitis. Delhi is due to start a measles-rubella vaccination campaign this month for children in school and out of school within the age group of 9 months to less than 15 years.

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