Why Measles and Rubella Vaccination Needed Explained By Dr. Archana Kavalkat

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Welcome from Currae Hospitals. I am Dr. Manisha Pathak(Center Head) and I would like to welcome Dr. Archana Kavalkat, our Paediatrician and Neonatologist at Currae Hospitals.

Center Head: Welcome Dr. Archana.

Dr. Archana: Good morning. And this is a good opportunity to get in touch with the masses.

Center Head: Yes. Like nowadays, even on television and everywhere, we are just coming across advertisement of Government for MR Vaccination that is Measles and Rubella Vaccination.

Dr. Archana: That’s right.

Center Head: So why this MR is important, like Measles and Rubella Vaccination is important, can you just highlight it?

Dr. Archana: So, I’ll just give you a quick reason why measles and rubella are the diseases that have been focused upon, measles and rubella are both viral illnesses which are transmitted through an airborne route. Measles particularly is very harmful in the younger children because it causes a lot of havoc to several organs. The children can develop pneumonia, they can have other organs affected, their immune system is affected whereby they can be susceptible to more diseases, and in the later times, very late, neurological disease can also happen in children who have had measles. Considering rubella, although it’s a minor infection, what’s more important about rubella is that it can cause congenital rubella syndrome to the unborn child of a pregnant mother if she suffers from this disease during her pregnancy. So, hence it is very important that we get rid of these diseases from the community, just as we have done with polio for the last 2 years.

Center Head: Right. Now again, like one vision comes in everybody’s mind that I have vaccinated my child as per WHO norm, like all injections I have given, so do I need to give this MR vaccination?

Dr. Archana: Yeah, so this is one of the most common vaccine. First thing, this is not just a routine kind of a thing; it is a mass vaccination being done at a single time to a huge group of people.

Center Head: Right.

Dr. Archana: We are trying to bring on what we describe as herd immunity. The entire group of children in that age group from 9 months to 15 months will be receiving this vaccine at the same time and it brings up the immunity of the entire group to a particular level. Let me remind everyone that even after taking all three vaccines, different people respond in different ways, so one child might have reached, let’s presume about 80% immunity, the other child might be way behind at 65 to 70%, so that makes him more susceptible and he or she may be more susceptible, the community is more susceptible, and hence due to the concept of herd immunity, we are giving this vaccine to the entire lot of children together and this will not or may not happen very soon now, so it’s a one-time activity, not like Pulse Polio which is happening…

Center Head: Often…

Dr. Archana: …often, yeah.

Center Head: Right. Okay, so I think it is mainly for our children safety only…

Dr. Archana: Absolutely, absolutely.

Center Head: Okay.

Dr. Archana: Okay, and there are some vaccines, which may get effected due to the live virus that is been given with the MR Vaccine, it’s a live virus vaccine, so do speak to your health provider, adjust the dosage timings, but MMR Vaccine if scheduled during this phase, definitely can be postpone for a month.

Center Head: Okay, okay. What are the side effects? As you say it is live vaccine, so what are the side effects of this particular vaccine which are likely to be seen in that patient?

Dr. Archana: First, let me remind everyone that you have taken this vaccine for your child when they where 9 months old, 15 months old and even 5 years of age, so this is the same vaccine which has been given with your health provider, it is a live attenuated, a weakened vaccine, weakened virus, and the side effects are of local pain, discomfort, there may be some fever, little runny nose, etc. about 4 to 5 days afterwards. Very severe effects may happen in a very, very tiny population, which can happen with any vaccine, it can happen with any drug. So those are always some points that we do need to remember, and let me tell you the corporation people, I have witnessed the way the vaccine is being given myself in some of the schools that I went to, they are taking a lot of care, certain hospitals which are close by have been appointed, in case of any difficulty, the child is sent for observation there, and so far no untoward incident has been reported because the campaign has already started and it’s well on its way.

Center Head: Okay. So, as you say like, it is safe to take this particular vaccine in schools or at Government Centres also?

Dr. Archana: Yes, because they are not just holding the kid and giving the vaccine, they have a 3-phase process: the child is identified, the vaccine is given, if the parents are present especially for the smaller ones, the schools have made it compulsory for the parents to be there, the vaccine is given, the child is marked on the thumb that the vaccine has been given, then the child is transferred to an observation room where the child is kept for about half an hour. When everything is fine, there are no side effects or problems, the child is allowed to go home.

Center Head: Okay, okay.

Dr. Archana: So this is a 3-step process which makes it very systematic and you can pick up the problems earlier.

Center Head: Okay, okay. And just I would like to add one thing that even they have identified few hospitals as emergency centres.

Dr. Archana: Yes, yes, for emergency, yeah.

Center Head: So even Currae Hospital is identified as to cater patients for emergency care after…

Dr. Archana: In the case of any adverse effect.

Center Head: In the case of any adverse effect, so I think they are handing over the kids to a safer hand.

Dr. Archana: Correct.

Center Head: Next thing is like immediately after vaccination, what care one has to take or what precautions we need to take?

Dr. Archana: Yes, so what the parents need to understand is that if your child is having, first thing is any chronic disease, is on steroids, or some kind of a chronic illness, please again speak to your doctor, your health provider whether it is okay to give… or a very sick child with very high fever, they may not be appropriate candidates to take this vaccine, that’s #1. Second thing is that please send your child to school with a full stomach and the last thing is that don’t take them out and eat in malls or in public places within 24 hrs because if you have a vomiting related to that, it should not be attributed to the vaccination and you will not be able to identify the problem, so that’s one. The last thing is that if there is some discomfort, some pain that the child feels, maybe a fever, paracetamol which is the safest possible option to give maybe administered to the child.

Center Head: Okay, but that again as per…

Dr. Archana: Take the correct form of medication, drops, suspension double-strength, whatever and administer in the correct dose, if so required.

Center Head: Yeah, so I think with this much of information, we all are geared up to go ahead with the Government’s like the thing for Measles and Rubella Vaccination, which is…

Dr. Archana: Yes, I just want to make a point.

Center Head: Yes, yes.

Dr. Archana: I feel that it is our duty as citizens to cooperate because this vaccine may seem to you as something that you have given to your children but a huge population of children have not been receiving the MMR Vaccine, this will help bring herd immunity. And because of our cooperation for the Polio drive, today India has been declared polio free for the last 2 years and if we achieve the same for these two diseases, it will be a huge service to your children, to their children for the future. So I would really, sincerely urge all parents to go ahead, put their doubts away, if you have any doubts, I hope we have managed to clarify few of those doubts, and please go ahead and take this vaccine. Thank you.

Center Head: Thank you Dr. Archana. Thanks a lot.

Dr. Archana: Thanks for having me here.

Center Head: And so, let’s just go ahead with the Government’s drive of MR Vaccination, between 27th November to 27th December.

Dr. Archana: That’s right.

Center Head: Thanks a lot, thank you.

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