Measles-Rubella (MR) Vaccines
A systematic measles vaccination took place in 1978 and rubella vaccination in 1977. A measles outbreak was observed in 2001 and about 10 cases of congenital rubella in regional outbreaks in 2004. The combination vaccine also known as MR Vaccines was recommended against measles and rubella for one-year-olds and just before entering primary school.
A measles outbreak was observed in young age and adults in 2007-2008.
What is measles?
Measles is a highly contagious disease caused by a virus. Measles can occur in someone who has never had measles and has no immunity to it.
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Who all are at risk?
Any unimmunized person who has not been vaccinated or vaccinated but has not developed immunity may become infected and at increased risk for measles and its complications, including death.
What is the current scenario of Measles in India?
Measles are the most common cause of child mortality. About 3 million measles cases are reported every year and around 900,000 children worldwide die from measles. In India, nearly 2.7 million children suffer from measles each year. Those who survive suffer from serious problems like diarrhea, pneumonia and malnutrition. In India, the most worrying part is that the coverage of MR vaccine in India is only 66% and in many countries even less than 50%.
What is Rubella?
Rubella is an acute and contagious viral infection that is transmitted to children and young adults via the respiratory tract. The virus is present one week before the onset of a rash and two weeks later in the secretions of the nose and throat. If a primary cholera infection occurs in a pregnant woman, the virus can infect the unborn child.
Although the disease is generally benign, the importance of prevention is due to the potentially devastating effects of the infection during pregnancy on the mother and fetus.
Infections during pregnancy can lead to miscarriages, the death of the baby in the womb or the appearance of babies with congenital malformations known as congenital rubella syndrome (CRS). CRS usually presents with heart disease, cataract in the eyes, mental retardation and deafness.
What is the current scenario of Rubella in India?
It has been observed that about 40-45% of women of child-bearing potential are susceptible to rubella. In addition, it is surprising to know that every year, more than 40,000 babies born with birth defects due to a rubella infection during pregnancy are born in India.
Prevention of Measles and Rubella
Measles and rubella can be prevented by administering vaccines, but a single dose offers less protection than multiple doses. In addition, vaccination of the entire child population in one region has enhanced the effect of “collective immunity” and this is the concept of the MR vaccination campaign.
Who is eligible to receive MR vaccine?
Children and adolescents between nine months and 15 years of age may receive a vaccine. As the dose administered during the mass campaign is an additional dose, children who are scheduled to receive regular measles at the age of nine months or 18 months are vaccinated four weeks before or after the date of mass vaccination.
Routine immunization doses are administered separately according to the age of the routine inoculum.
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When MR vaccine should not be given?
The MR vaccine should not be given to children who have had allergies or measles vaccination in the past. In children with high fever and/or other serious illnesses the vaccination is delayed. Moms and caregivers should consult a doctor before proceeding.
All children in the age group nine months to 15 years of age should receive measles and rubella vaccine. Even children who have been vaccinated by their pediatrician or in measles health centers should take the MR vaccine during any campaign by the government. The vaccine is safe. It has been shown that even vaccinated children are ill with the disease. Therefore, the extra dose during the campaign provides extra protection for the children.
How safe is the MR vaccine?
The MR vaccine is a safe and effective vaccine that has been used for over 40 years in many countries around the world. The vaccine administered as part of the MR campaign is manufactured in India and prequalified by the WHO. The same vaccine is being used as part of the routine immunization program in India and in many neighboring countries such as Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Myanmar.
In India, children from India have been giving MR Vaccines or MMR Vaccines for many years. The Indian Academy of Pediatrics (IAP) supports the MRI vaccination strategy.
MR vaccines have been used around the world for decades. The US region has eliminated measles and rubella by vaccinating children with the measles and rubella vaccine.
What are the side effects of MR vaccines?
The MR vaccine used in the campaign is completely safe. As with any other injectable vaccine, you may experience mild pain and redness at the site of injection, mild fever, rashes, and muscle aches that disappear by themselves. It is not known that the vaccine causes another adverse event. However, all vaccinations, whether in schools or in extension programs, are connected to health centers fully equipped for the treatment of adverse events.
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