According to civic officials in Kolkata, India, only 23% of eligible children have taken the measles-rubella (MR) vaccine during a special inoculation drive that began in the state two weeks ago. Schools in Kolkata have been reluctant to organize vaccination camps on their campuses due to lack of interest from guardians.
“The schools have told us they are not keen on organising camps because guardians are not willing to let their wards take the dose,” said an official in the health department of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC).
Despite this, doctors have stated that children already inoculated against measles and rubella should still take the special dose provided their earlier shot was taken at least four weeks ago. The poor response to the MR vaccination drive is similar to the low turnout for the COVID vaccine. Many private hospitals in the city have stopped COVID vaccination due to poor response and the KMC has also discontinued COVID vaccination.
“The 23 per cent coverage (for the MR vaccine) is not satisfactory. We are failing to persuade many schools to organise camps. Many parents are not sending their children for the dose,” the KMC official said.
The West Bengal government started the special five-week MR vaccination drive on January 9 with the goal of administering the vaccine to all eligible children in the state. Health department officials are now considering ways to improve the campaign’s coverage in Kolkata.