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Vaccine bid to beat virus

Vaccination against Japanese encephalitis started at city schools on Monday.

District magistrate N. Saravana Kumar inaugurated the vaccination campaign at Christ Church Diocesan School. The co-ordinator of the school, Avinash Dubey, said: “As many as 715 students of classes Nursery to VI were immunised. More than 300 students would be immunised on Tuesday.”

Schools have been provided with vaccination cards. Specific dates have been fixed when medical teams would visit the schools. The initiative is important because children are not vaccinated for Japanese encephalitis in the course of routine immunisation at government and private hospitals in Bihar.

Patna civil surgeon Dr Lakhendra Prasad said the campaign would continue in schools till May 2 and at primary health and Anganwadi centres from May 4 to 16.

He added: “The vaccination for Japanese encephalitis is very expensive. The Union government buys it from China and distributes it to different states.”

Last year, the vaccination drive was initiated in Aurangabad and Gaya. Patna and Jehanabad would benefit from the campaign this year.

DM Kumar had conducted a meeting with principals of private schools last week.

“Technical experts present at the meeting explained the importance of the campaign and answered the queries of the principals. We need the full co-operation of schools to ensure the success of the vaccination campaign,” he said.

The district administration has tried to premeditate solutions to roadblocks to ensure that the vaccination process is a success.

“When the government had carried out measles vaccination (in December and January), there was a gap in communication between parents, school administration and the health department. This time, we have asked the principals to conduct parent-teacher meetings so that the parents give their consent for it,” said Kumar. The programme was successful in Gaya and Aurangabad.

Some schools in the city, however, said they were yet to get any briefing about the vaccination campaign.

“We haven’t got any briefing about it. Once we are informed, we would send the information to parents,” said Brother Felix, the principal of Loyola High School.

Even in some schools that have been informed, the vaccination did not begin on Monday. George Nedumattam, the principal of St Xavier’s High School, said the school had got the letter about the vaccination last week and it was still collecting the consent of parents.

“All the students cannot be immunised at the same time. It has to be done in batches. Once we get the consent of parents, we would inform the authorities concerned to carry out the drive,” he said.

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