To shield kids aged under 15 years from Japanese Encephalitis (JE) virus, the Union government has asked three districts–Pune, Parbhani and Raigad–across Maharashtra to start a pilot immunisation project.
Based on the response, the vaccination will then be included in the routine immunisation programme. The civic limits of Pune, Pimpri Chinchwad, Parbhani and Panvel have been selected for the pilot project.
Although rare, JE is a viral brain infection that spreads through mosquito bites. State health department officials said the Union government has approved the JE vaccination under the performance improvement plan for these three districts. The doses for the same have been requested, they added.
“JE vaccination is carried out under routine immunisation in certain districts and municipalities selected by the Central Government. The campaign is first started by giving a single dose of vaccine to beneficiaries aged between 1 and 15 years. Then, the JE vaccine is included in routine immunization programmes,” read the instructions given to the three districts.
How is JE vaccine administered?
In routine immunisation, the first dose of vaccine is administered to beneficiaries aged 9-12 months and the second dose for beneficiaries aged 16-24 months.
The quantity of the said vaccine is 0.5ml and the dose of the vaccine is given in the muscle on the outer side of the left thigh. The date for starting the pilot project is yet to be decided but the state has asked civic authorities to ensure that the cold chain is prepared. The staff will be given training for implementing the project.
Family Welfare Department Additional Director Health Services Dr Nitin Ambadekar said, “Currently, three districts have been selected based on the historical findings and the suspected cases which could have been under-reported. We have demanded for the vaccines and we are yet to get the date to start the vaccination. Meanwhile, we are training our staff for the same.”