Bhopal: Docs dispel fear surrounding measles-rubella immunisation

Bhopal: Teams engaged in measles-rubella vaccination campaign in city are facing resistance from several quarters as misconceptions are doing the rounds that immunization aims at controlling birth. The doctors are allaying the doubts among public assuring that vaccination aims at protecting children against measles and Rubella, highly contagious viral diseases

Some parents are not keen in getting their kids vaccinated as they have already got vaccine and believes that there is no need of another one. Then there is another section which thinks that the vaccine will lead to infertility. If rubella vaccine is aimed at preventing birth defects, why are boys being vaccinated? Will vaccination affect potency and fertility? Are some of the questions the teams engage in vaccination drive are being asked. Trying to cleat the misconceptions, the medical expert have clarified that both girls and boys are at an equal risk of getting infected with rubella virus, if not already protected against the disease.

The measles and rubella (MR) campaign is a public health initiative of government to eliminate measles by 2020 and control rubella/congenital rubella syndrome (CRS). It targets children in a wide age group between 9 months and 15 years. Rubella virus leads to spontaneous abortion, stillbirth and irreversible birth defects such as lifelong disabilities affecting multiple organs like deafness, blindness, mental retardation, heart defect etc. But a woman infected with the rubella virus during pregnancy can transmit the disease to her baby.

AIIMS Paediatric department HoD Dr Shikha Malik said, “We vaccinate girl for protection from Rubella virus. It is true that Rubella virus is totally related to pregnancy. But boys also get infected and so chances of transmission of virus from male to female persists. So boys are also being immunized simultaneously.” Secondly, this vaccine does not affect sperm count, potency and fertility, Malik clarified.

Dr Lalit Kumar of BMHRC said, “Onus lies on doctors to clear the misconception and doubt prevailing in public who are raising doubt like – If rubella vaccine is aimed at preventing birth defects then why are boys being vaccinated?” Government should also make attempts to clear such doubt and take home the point that the vaccination programme aims at eradicating Rubella virus from the country, he added.

CMHO Dr UN Khan dispelled the fear of any side effect of vaccine on child’s health. “People should not have any doubt about the vaccination. Both girls and boys are equally at risk of getting infected as well as transmitting Rubella virus, if not already protected against the disease. All children, both boys and girls need to take Measles-Rubella vaccine in routine immunization as well as during Measles-Rubella vaccination campaign, he added.

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