Immunisation drive against measles, rubella begins on Nov 15

Published September 17, 2021
In this file photo, a medic injects a child with the measles vaccine. — AFP
In this file photo, a medic injects a child with the measles vaccine. — AFP

KARACHI: The Sindh health department will launch a province-wide immunisation drive against measles and rubella from Nov 15, which will continue till the 27th.

The decision was taken at the first meeting of provincial steering committee chaired by Health and Population Welfare Minister Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho on Thursday.

The meeting discussed the illness of rubella that could often lead to serious and even fatal complications for foetus when an unprotected woman was infected in her early pregnancy.

An infection during pregnancy, it was said, could result in miscarriage or congenital defects in the unborn child, including heart deficiency, eye and heart defects and other lifelong disabilities. Rubella and measles, it was pointed out, were both contagious viral infections.

The meeting decided that the drive would commence on Nov 15 and continue till the 27th. The participants hoped that the measles and rubella supplementary immunisation activity would help reduce its cases and associated complications in winters.

The measles vaccine would be replaced by measles-rubella vaccine but with the same routine immunisation schedule (nine months and 15 months of age).

The minister said that all the departments concerned should be on board for the drive, including the information department that would launch timely awareness campaigns in media.

The EPI Sindh would be focusing on six key areas, including planning and coordination, monitoring and supervision, maintaining cold chain inventory and preparing a vaccine distribution plan.

The participants, who included representatives of Unicef, the Pakistan Paediatric Association, WHO and the Expanded Programme on Immuni­zation and Emergency Operation Centre, also decided to hold a fortnightly meeting of the steering committee.

Pfizer booster dose

Meanwhile, the Sindh government has notified that all healthcare workers in the province will be administered a booster dose of Pfizer vaccine. The dose will be provided free of cost.

According to health department officials, around 150,000 healthcare providers are currently working in both public and private sector healthcare facilities in the province. They were registered with the department during the Covid-19 vaccination drive.

Published in Dawn, September 17th, 2021

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