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Letter flags gaps in Kolkata kids’ immunisation

The coverage has dropped in Kolkata compared to what it was in 2019, in the pre-Covid days, said an official of the KMC

Subhajoy Roy | Published 19.11.22, 07:07 AM
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Gaps in routine immunisation of children have resulted in reduced coverage, a worried state health department has written to all district administrations and asked them to increase the coverage and prevent dropouts from the immunisation schedule.

A senior official of the department told The Telegraph that about 97 to 98 per cent of total children born in a year in West Bengal usually get vaccinated. Who are the two or three per cent of the population left out of the programme and why that is happening needs to be identified, the official said.


“These gaps put children at risk of contracting preventable diseases, which can have serious consequences,” the letter said.

The coverage has dropped in Kolkata compared to what it was in 2019, in the pre-Covid days, said an official of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC).

The KMC is responsible for motivating and convincing families of poor and disadvantaged backgrounds in Kolkata to get their children fully immunised. The official said the drop began during Covid but has not yet gone back to the achievements during pre-Covid days. “We used to have 60 special camps every month in 2019 for routine immunisation of children. Last month, we were able to organise 26 camps. Clubs and other social organisations are venues for such special camps organised in areas where immunisation numbers are low,” said the KMC official.

Under the routine immunisation or universal immunisation programme, vaccines against seven vaccine-preventable diseases are provided. While the vaccines are given for free of cost at government-run hospitals or health clinics run by civic bodies, parents can also pay and get their children vaccinated in private hospitals and clinics.

The letter, sent on Tuesday, said Hepatitis-B birth dose coverage needs to be improved. A paediatrician said there were three vaccines — BCG, oral polio and Hepatitis-B — that have to be administered within 24 hours of the birth of a child.

The health department official said their target was to achieve 100 per cent vaccination, for which meticulous planning was necessary. “We have done fairly well, but we have to achieve more.”

Last updated on 19.11.22, 07:07 AM

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