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Parents Panic regarding the Measles-Rubella Vaccination: Is it Safe?

The Health Ministry’s nationwide vaccination campaign against measles and rubella aims to vaccinate 41 crore children in the country. However, the campaign is facing a major challenge within the sort of panic and fear among folks, propelled by social media messages regarding the side-effects of the vaccine and a general lack of awareness about the vaccine. parents have also expressed considerations on why the vaccine is mandatory when it’s not a part of the routine immunisation programme.

Amid the confusions regarding the vaccine, we answer key questions that parents have been asking regarding the MR immunisation programme.

What Are measles and Rubella?


Measles is a highly contagious disease caused by a virus of the paramyxovirus family by direct contact or through respiratory droplets when infected persons cough or sneeze. It infects the respiratory tract so the rest of the body with symptoms showing once 10-12 days of infection. It includes high fever, rashes, cough, running nose and red watery eyes. It will cause complications like cecity, cephalitis, severe diarrhoea and severe respiratory infections, as well as pneumonia. measles related deaths are caused by complications because of weakening of the system. children below the age of five years are additional at risk of the illness. However, it only affects human beings and not animals.


Rubella or german measles is a contagious but mild viral disease that affects children and young adults. The symptoms include rashes, low fever, nausea and mild conjunctivitis. rubella on its own isn’t a high risk infection but rubeola infection during early pregnancy will pose serious risks to the foetus as in 90th of the cases, the virus is transmitted to the fetus. this will end in miscarriage, still birth or innate rubeola Syndrome (CRS) in infants. CRS can cause deafness, disabilities, heart impairment, autism and other birth defects. Around 40,000 youngsters are born with birth defects due to CRS per annum in India, according to World Health Organization.

What Is the Prevalence of measles and rubella in India?


According to the World Health Organization, “one-third of all measles-related deaths worldwide occur in India.” the number of measles related deaths within the country was forty four, thirty three and twenty eight in 2015, 2016 and 2017, respectively. according to a Lok Sabha question dated July 2018.

In 2017, the incidence rate of measles per 1 lakh population was 4.6 and for rubella, it was 0.26.

What Is the Treatment for measles and Rubella?

There is no specific treatment for measles and rubella, but each are vaccine preventable diseases.

Measles-Rubella live vaccine viruses, which are weakened sort of the viruses, are used to build immunity against actual infection. once these antigens/foreign substance are introduced into the body through vaccination, thereby mimicking an infection, the body releases antibodies to fight these. This prepares the human body to fight against real infection in the future.

What Is the MR Vaccine?

MR Vaccine

Measles-Rubella vaccine (MR-Vac) is a combination vaccine that has antigens to stop each measles and rubella. rubella vaccine within the sort of MR-Vac was 1st introduced in India in February 2017 with the aim of dominant congenital rubella Syndrome (CRS). measles – vaccine (M-Vac) was already being administered in the country as part of the national immunisation programme.

MR vaccine is given at 9-12 months and 16-24 months of age of child. it’s manufactured by the serum Institute of India in Pune.

Other than this, private practitioners were already using the combination vaccine of Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR) vaccine, which builds immunity against all the 3 infections.

What Is the MR vaccine Campaign?

MR vaccine Campaign

The MR vaccine campaign was introduced in February 2017 by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare with the support of state governments, WHO, United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund and NGO’s to satisfy the target of eliminating measles and controlling CRS by 2020. The introduction of the vaccine is being done through AN 18-month-long campaign targeting 41 crore children between the age of nine months to fifteen years. The campaign model was adopted to make population immunity in one go by giving one shot of MR vaccine to all or any children up to the age of 15 years.

As a part of the campaign, MR Vaccines are provided freed from cost at schools and health centres within the country. each child between the age of 9 months to 15 years are supposed to tend a shot irrespective of their measles/rubella vaccination standing or measles/rubella disease standing, according to a February 2017 PIB unleash. once completion of the campaign, MR vaccines are introduced within the routine immunisation programme, replacing the measles vaccine.

Why Is There a Scare regarding the Vaccine?

The vaccination drive has been marred by rumours regarding the vaccine, resulting in youngsters falling sick or impotent.

In Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, that were covered in the 1st phase of the campaign, many messages were being circulated on social media and WhatsApp discouraging folks from getting their children vaccinated. consistent with a report by the Scroll, a tweet of Union Minister Kiren Rijiju on falling Hindu population was coupled in these messages to claim that the vaccination drive was to control the minority population by creating the kids impotent. However, it was found that the audio message originated from Mallapuram district of Kerala, that has a majority Muslim population and has witnessed resistance to government vaccination drives in the past.

Likewise, the rumours have been spreading in others states as the campaign proceeds. Gujarat also witnessed similar cases during the vaccination drive. it had been reported that four children died after the vaccination in Gujarat in July 2018. Later a team of immunisation experts from the centre ruled out the linkage between the deaths and the vaccine.

“The MR vaccination programme is safe, and the deaths of 4 children after they were administered the vaccine was due to reasons that are not related to the vaccination. the children died among 5 days after they got the vaccination. They showed acute abdomen symptom, acute gastritis, viral encephalitis and drug reaction, that are not related to vaccination,” said Pradeep Haldar – Deputy Commissioner for immunisation, Health Ministry.

Since the past week, many messages are being circulated in maharashtra once a 4-week campaign has been launched in the state to cover around 3.8 crore youngsters. it had been also reported that eight children from Wardha in geographic area were hospitalised once administration of the MR-vaccine, according to Lokmat News Network. the children had faced restlessness once the vaccination and was soon hospitalised. This has once again created panic among parents.

What Do Health officials Say about the Scare?

As per Dr Purushottam Madavi, the civil doctor for Wardha district in Maharashtra where eight children were admitted to hospital once being administered the MR vaccine. He aforesaid that as a result of there was some worry about the vaccine amongst parents, the department control subject matter sessions at varied locations in the town. “We told them how the vaccine is administered and how children may show side effects like symptom and itching. we also told them there is nothing to worry and there no long term side effects except the immediate ones.”

In a similar incident last week, 21 children in Buldhana district of Maharashtra complained of getting faced some issues post vaccination. Dr Premchand Pandit, Civil surgeon, Buldhana district aforesaid that in Maharashtra, World Health Organization said that nearly eighty,000 youngsters had been administered the vaccine in the last week.

“Out of the 80,000 children, about 21 of them complained of some issues and were brought to the hospital for a routine check up,” Dr Pandit said. He explained that before the day of the vaccination drive, officers from the health department of Buldhana district visited all schools and met folks and explained to them the known side-effects of the vaccine. “The folks were told everything and they weren’t worried either. In fact, only one of the children developed serious problems which included breathing and more tests revealed he had low immunity and had developed some allergic reactions to the vaccine. He started feeling fine after some hours and was discharged,”he said.

Is the MR vaccine Safe? does It pose Serious side Effects?

MR Vaccine on Children

‘The MR vaccine being used in the campaign is completely safe,’ says World Health Organization (WHO) in AN FAQ on the Measles-Rubella Vaccination Campaign. it’s being used in 150 countries of the planet. It additionally says that the MR-Vaccine created in India by the humor Institute of Pune is World Health Organization pre-qualified and used in neighbouring countries of Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Myanmar.

Both World Health Organization and the Health Ministry say that the vaccine doesn’t have any serious side effects. in case of any side effects like low fever or rashes, those are ‘mild and transient’. it’s same as within the cases of other injectable vaccines. The World Health Organization also specifies about the standard of the syringe used in the campaign. It says, the syringe used on each child is ‘a new auto disable syringe’ that breaks off after a single usage.

The operational pointers of MR-Vaccine by the Health Ministry says that 50 of the recipients may experience fever and 2 might face transient rashes. In rare cases – one in one million – children may face anaphylaxis, among 5-30 minutes once the injection. Symptoms of anaphylaxis are rashes, swollen eyes, breathing obstruction, low blood pressure, abdominal cramps and loss of consciousness.

As per the operational guidelines of MR-Vaccine by the Health Ministry, adverse reactions following the vaccination are generally mild.

MR Vaccine on Children in Telengana

We also spoke to experts World Health Organization confirmed that the vaccine doesn’t create serious health risks aside from some short term reactions, that is the case of different vaccines yet. it should include mild fever, running nose, drowsiness, irritability and pain/ swelling at the spot of injection.

Dr Naveen Thacker – coordinator and executive Director-Elect, International paediatric Association – said, “MR-Vaccine is very safe”. He additionally realized that the MR-Vaccine isn’t utterly new as the non-public practitioners were already using the mix vaccine of MMR in India for many years.

Dr Sylvia Karpagam, Public Health Doctor, said that the vaccine itself doesn’t have serious side effects however there will be mild reactions. Karpagam was of the read that the parents should learn about the aspect effects beforehand. This, she said, can in fact help in controlling the panic whether or not the kid faces minor reactions. She also aforesaid that parents should be given the selection to prefer their children out of the MR vaccine campaign if they have received MMR vaccines.

Is It Safe to require MR Shots even if the child Has Received M-Vac or MMR in the Past?

The MR Campaign vaccine is to tend to youngsters of the target cluster (9 months to 95 efficacy when given above 12 months of age. rubella vaccine efficacy is over ninety five if administered to a baby below twelve months and > 99 if given above 12 months of age.

Who should not Be Administered with MR Vaccines?

Choose MR Vaccine for the Safety of your children

According to the Health Ministry’s guidelines and World Health Organization, children with high fever or with serious diseases or hospitalised children should avoid being vaccinated. youngsters World Health Organization have displayed anaphylaxis/allergic reactions to MR vaccine in the past and World Health Organization are immune-compromised due to congenital diseases, HIV, leukemia should also not be vaccinated.

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