Regular child immunization gone haywire due to COVID-19

Child immunization process in Arunachal Pradesh adversely affected by COVID-19: State Immunization Officer Dr Demong Padung

Immunization of children, one of the major public health intervention and largest global programme, aims at protecting children from life threatening but preventable conditions.
This being a regular and continuing process went haywire in Arunachal Pradesh due to numerous factors triggered by COVID-19 pandemic, state immunization officer Dr Demong Padung said.
Talking to Fit Northeast, Dr Demong Padung said, "The same staff of primary health centres (PHCs), community health centres (CHCs), health sub centres, health & wellness centres (HWCs) are engaged for this humanitarian task by making teams of ANMs of above centres not only for spot as well as door-to-door vaccination".
Moreover, Japanese encephalitis vaccine is also given in 5 districts of the state, he said. The COVID lockdown had paused serious problems in movement of vaccination staff and people were also scared to allow immunization fearing infection by the deadly virus, he added.
Talking to Fit Northeast Dr Demong Padung said, "The same staff of PHCs, CHCs, health sub centres, HWCs are engaged for this humanitarian task by making teams of ANMs of above centres not only for spot as well as door-to-door vaccination".
"These factors which are beyond human control have deprived many children from timely immunization. But plans are being chalked out how to cover the targeted children", said Dr Demong Padung.
A child being vaccinated in Arunachal Pradesh
Image: A child being vaccinated in Arunachal Pradesh
Health and Family Welfare Minister Alo Libang after administering first OPV to children during nationwide intensified pulse polio immunization(IPPI) at Itanagar on January 19 last year, had made a fervent appeal to civil body organizations and departmental staff to ensure 100% IPPI coverage of children (0-5 years) though 3115 booths.
Immunization programmes in India was introduced in 1978 as expanded programme of immunization and gained momentum in 1985 to become universal immunization programme (UIP) to be implemented in phased manner to cover all districts of India by 1989-90. Under the UIP, the Centre offers vaccines to prevent seven preventable diseases, i.e., diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus (DTP), polio, measles, severe form of childhood tuberculosis and Hepatitis B, hiaemophilus influenza type b (Hib) and diarrhea.
The UIP become a part of child survival and safe motherhood Programme in 1992. Immunization since 1997 became an important component of National Reproductive and Child Health Programme and one of the key areas under National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) since 2005, he said.
The vaccination schedule under UIP is as follows: BCG at birth; Hepatitis B within 24 hours of birth; oral poliovirus vaccines (OPV) 2 drops within 15 days; OPV 1, 2 & 3 at 6 weeks, 10 weeks & 14 weeks respectively; inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) in 6 &14 weeks; pentavelant 1, 2 & 3 at 6 weeks, 10 weeks & 14 weeks respectively; Rota virus vaccine 5 drops at 6 weeks, 10 weeks & 14 weeks respectively; measles 1st dose on 9 completed months-12 months (could be given up to 5 years if not given at 9-12 months age); vitamin-A 1st dose at 9 months with measles; DTP 1st booster, OPV booster & measles 2nd dose during 16-24 months; vitamin-A (2nd to 9th dose) in 16 months with DPT/OPV booster, then, one dose every 6 months up to the age of 5 years) and DTP 2nd booster in 5-6 years.



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