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KMC asks schools to organise vaccine camps

Coverage of special MR vaccination drive has so far been poor in Kolkata, compared with rest of state

Subhajoy Roy | Published 04.02.23, 07:56 AM
Representational image

Representational image

File picture

The Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) has written to the heads of 91 schools in the city that have not allowed the civic body to organise measles-rubella (MR) vaccination camps on their campuses to reconsider their decision.

The coverage of the special MR vaccination drive has so far been poor in Kolkata, compared with the rest of the state.


The drive, aimed at eradicating measles and controlling rubella, started in the state on January 9. Children between nine months and 15 years are eligible for the MR shot.

A KMC official said 4,16,635 children had been vaccinated against measles and rubella as part of the special drive in Kolkata till Wednesday (February 1), which is 36 per cent of the population eligible for the dose in the city.

In the entire state, about 75 per cent of the eligible children were administered the MR shot till Wednesday.

Even in the schools where vaccination camps have been held, students turned up for the dose in far fewer numbers than expected, said a KMC official.

“A few of the schools that did not organise camps have agreed to be part of the vaccination drive since getting our letter. Some schools have started discussions to fix a date for the camp,” said a KMC official.

Mayor Firhad Hakim said on Friday he had issued an appeal to guardians of eligible children to get their wards vaccinated, if they have not already done so.

“The message will be played through the public address system in areas where the coverage is low and where parents are not sending their wards to the vaccination camps,” said an official of the KMC.

Among the institutions that were initially reluctant to allow the vaccination camp but changed their mind after being prodded by the KMC are the La Martiniere schools.

“There was lukewarm response from parents initially, but gradually the interest rose. The camp was held at La Martiniere for Boys on Thursday and Friday. About 1,500 children were vaccinated,” said Supriyo Dhar, secretary of the La Martiniere schools.

“At La Martiniere for Girls, the camp will be held next week.”

Apurba Ghosh, paediatrician and director of the Institute of Child Health, said the low coverage of the special MR vaccination programme in Kolkata could be explained by the fact that many Kolkatans prefer to get their children vaccinated in private healthcare facilities.

“It could be that most of those who are not taking the special dose being given now are already vaccinated against the two diseases,” Ghosh said.

“However, they should still take the special dose as it will do no harm and give then extra protection. I strongly recommend that all children eligible for the dose take it.”

While the special MR shot is being administered for free, parents can buy MMR shots from private facilities.

The MMR vaccine provides protection against measles, mumps and rubella. “Parents could be thinking that since their wards have already taken the MMR vaccine, there is no need to take the MR vaccine. This is wrong thinking,” a doctor said.

Last updated on 04.02.23, 09:10 AM

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