Kolkata: More than 16 lakh children took the measles rubella vaccine (MRV) on Monday, the first day of the special MRV drive roll-out. The health department launched the drive from 8,000 schools in Bengal, though the target was 10,000.
“According to the data, 16 lakh-odd kids got the vaccine on Monday. The number is likely to go up as some numbers are yet to be compiled,” he said. Ashim Das MalakarState family welfare officer.
The KMC took up the initiative at 245 schools and 144 urban primary health centers in Kolkata. The civic body roped in 300 vaccinators. Anyone between nine months and 15 years is eligible for the vaccine, which is part of the routine immunization programme.
In 2022, the state had seen nearly three-fold rise in cases of measles from that in 2021. Health officials said Taltala and Kidderpore are among pockets witnessed high number of cases in 2022. Despite a robust routine immunizationsome children attached with government hospitals said they were taking the mr shot for the first time.
“When the school informed us about the campaign, I immediately agreed as the vaccine is necessary for children’s safety,” said Sarama Haldar, whose daughter Swastika (15), took the first dose on Monday at Chetla Girls’ High School. Priyanka Paik, a Class X student, also took her first dose. “I am not very concerned about the spurt in measles cases, but I want all necessary precautions for my son,” said Rana Pramanick, whose son Debasman, a Class-I student at Hare School, also took his first jab.
Ahil Rahaman of Class I had taken all other vaccines under the routine immunization program except MRV. His father, Sk Ekramul Rahaman, accompanied him to school on Monday to ensure he got his dose.
For Riju Maity of Class I at Hindu School, it was an additional dose of the vaccine on Monday. Hindu School witnessed 200 doses being administered on Monday on students of classes III, IV and V. Principal Subhrajit Dutta said the response was overwhelming.
KMC sources said that besides government-aided schools, an increasing number of private schools are showing an interest in participating in the vaccination drive. “After the drive kicked off, some private schools contacted us for camps for the students. We will try to accommodate them as soon as possible,” said a KMC health official. An official said given the shortage of vaccinators, the KMC was not being able to arrange for camps at some private schools that were yet to respond to their calls. “We need to rope in more vaccinators if we need to meet the deadline,” said a civic health official.