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LETTERS TO EDITOR
Year : 2019  |  Volume : 33  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 64-65

India's fight against vaccine-preventable diseases; newer changes and challenges


Department of Community Medicine, Pondicherry Institute of Medical Sciences, Puducherry, India

Date of Web Publication14-Oct-2019

Correspondence Address:
Ariarathinam Newtonraj
Department of Community Medicine, Pondicherry Institute of Medical Sciences, Puducherry - 605 014
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/jms.jms_90_18

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How to cite this article:
Newtonraj A. India's fight against vaccine-preventable diseases; newer changes and challenges. J Med Soc 2019;33:64-5

How to cite this URL:
Newtonraj A. India's fight against vaccine-preventable diseases; newer changes and challenges. J Med Soc [serial online] 2019 [cited 2019 Nov 13];33:64-5. Available from: http://www.jmedsoc.org/text.asp?2019/33/1/64/269113



Sir,

After the success of making South East Asian Region (SEAR) polio-free, the World Health Organization (WHO) has geared up its focus toward elimination of other vaccine-preventable diseases.[1],[2] As a major partner in the SEAR countries and having the second largest population in the world, India also accelerated its activities in response to WHO call.[1],[3] As a result, we could be able to notice that there is a frequent change in the universal immunization program (UIP). Some of the important changes are introduction of pentavalent vaccine, introduction of rotavirus vaccine, introduction of injectable polio vaccine (IPV), introduction two doses of measles vaccination, replacing the two doses of measles vaccination with measles-rubella (MR) vaccination, mass immunization of children with the age group of 9 months to 15 years with MR vaccine, and recently replacement of tetanus toxoid with tetanus and adult diphtheria.[4],[5],[6]

All these major changes happened in the recent past which is silent but a commendable achievement for a middle-income country with a huge population, like India. On the other hand, in the recent MR mass vaccination, which has been introduced in the high-performing South Indian states, India has faced a new challenge of vaccination resistance/refusal in response to the negative propaganda in the social media (WhatsApp and Facebook). This was mainly noticed among the educated and higher socioeconomic society.[7],[8] Which made the researchers and public health fraternities to rise a serious concern about the vaccination coverage in the urban area, especially among the educated and higher socioeconomic status society.[7],[8] This incidence of strong negative propaganda is an unexpected setback for the public health system, which needs to be controlled by legal means.[8]

On the one side, parents have the autonomy to decide to vaccinate or not to vaccinate their child; on the other side, as we know well, one of the important entities in disease control is herd immunity, which will be heavily compromised if a community is not get vaccinated to the optimal level.[9] This will once again raise the sporadic outbreaks, as well as raise the treatment cost of any vaccine-preventable diseases, which India cannot afford it.

To conclude, India is taking a commendable lead in protecting its children against vaccine-preventable diseases, which is evident by the major changes and the recent addition of vaccines in the UIP. At the same time, new threats due to negative campaign against vaccination in the social media need to be curbed by strict legal actions.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

1.
Roberts L. Is measles next? Science 2015;348:958-61, 963.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Bavdekar SB, Karande S. Elimination of measles from India: Challenges ahead and the way forward. J Postgrad Med 2017;63:75-8.  Back to cited text no. 2
[PUBMED]  [Full text]  
3.
The Lancet. Measles vaccination: Global progress, local challenges. Lancet 2016;388:2450.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
World Health Organization and United Nation International Children's Emergency Fund. Replacement of TT Vaccine with Td Vaccine for Dual Protection; 2018. Available from: https://www.who.int/immunization/diseases/tetanus/WHO_UNICEF_Joint_communique_on_TT_to_Td_Replacement_Final28June2018.pdf. [Last accessed on 2018 Nov 24].  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Dutta AK. Learnings from pentavalent vaccine introduction in India. Indian J Pediatr 2016;83:283-4.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.
Health and Family Welfare Department Government of Tamilnadu. Immunization Programme. Available from: http://www.tnhealth.org/dph/dphis.php. [Last accessed on 2018 Nov 17].  Back to cited text no. 6
    
7.
Palanisamy B, Gopichandran V, Kosalram K. Social capital, trust in health information, and acceptance of Measles-Rubella vaccination campaign in Tamil Nadu: A case-control study. J Postgrad Med 2018;64:212-9.  Back to cited text no. 7
[PUBMED]  [Full text]  
8.
Bethou A, Chandrasekaran V. Media and Measles-Rubella vaccination campaign – Musings from Pondicherry. Indian Pediatr 2017;54:421-2.  Back to cited text no. 8
    
9.
Metcalf CJ, Ferrari M, Graham AL, Grenfell BT. Understanding herd immunity. Trends Immunol 2015;36:753-5.  Back to cited text no. 9
    




 

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