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Measles vaccination for children up to 14 years

By Shastry V Mallady

MADURAI, NOV.29. A one-day measles vaccination for all children up to 14 years of age in the State will be the next major project by the State Government after the Pulse Polio immunisation.

The World Health Organisation will be the funding agency for the single-day vaccination and the Directorate of Public Health had already begun discussions on the modalities of carrying out the State-wide vaccination, official sources told The Hindu today.

The WHO had alerted various States, including Tamil Nadu, of a `shift' in the `measles complexion' as it was no longer a childhood disease but affected even persons up to 30 years of age.

A statistical survey had already been initiated by the DPH to collect the details of occurrence of measles.

Sources said that the State Government, in response to the `WHO alert circular', had accepted to carry out vaccination on a particular day to cover all children up to 14 years. Normally, measles vaccine is compulsorily given to children up to five years but the age is now relaxed due to the age shift. However, the measles eradication programme can be taken up only after the completion of Pulse Polio immunisation programme.

Under the proposed vaccination programme, the State Government will ensure that all children up to 14 are covered. One constraint, district authorities said, would the difficulty in administering measles injection to all children unlike the polio drops, which are given orally.

A study conducted by the Health department has revealed that measles affected even those in the 20s and 30s.

A worrying factor is that it affects even those vaccinated in childhood.

The reasons attributed for this is either due to primary vaccine failure or lack of sufficient self-immunity.

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