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Karnataka’s immunisation coverage: A boon for children and pregnant women

Copyright: keeratipreechanugoon / 123RF Stock Photo

Karnataka’s immunisation coverage among children has reached 99 percent as part of centrally-led efforts to increase vaccination rates against multiple infectious diseases. 

‘Indradhanush 2’ was announced earlier this year in a bid to, as previously noted by Health Issues India, “boost vaccination coverage for those who are either unimmunised or only partially immunised, to further the goal of achieving ninety percent vaccination coverage by 2020.” The campaign has been a tenet of the health policy of the BJP government since it first came to power in 2014. 

Mission Indradhanush was launched in October 2014 to immunise all children up to the age of two and pregnant women against the diseases covered under the Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP). These diseases include, according to the National Health Portal, “diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, polio, measles, severe form of childhood tuberculosis, hepatitis B, meningitis and pneumonia (Haemophilus influenzae type B infections), Japanese encephalitis (JE) in JE-endemic districts with [later] introduction of…vaccines such as [the] rotavirus vaccine, IPV [inactivated poliovirus vaccine], adult JE vaccine, pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) and measles-rubella (MR) vaccine.” 

Intensified Mission Indradhanush was launched in October 2017 to reach those then untouched by the campaign. Subsequently, Indradhanush 2 came as a booster shot of sorts to build on these efforts.

Karnataka’s immunisation coverage has significantly expanded under the government-run programme, which covered twenty districts in the state. The drive reached 99 percent of the children and 100 percent of the pregnant women targeted under ‘Indradhanush 2’. The first round of ‘Indradhanush 2’ ran between December 2nd and December 10th, with Karnataka reporting positive results. 33,764 children of 34,173 targeted were immunised under the campaign, whilst 2,691 pregnant women were vaccinated – actually more than those who were targeted, which numbered at 2,608. 

The remaining unvaccinated children will not be left behind. Dr Rajani Nagesh Rao, joint director of immunisation in the state health and family welfare department, commented “the one percent of children who couldn’t be immunised in the first round will be covered in the next three rounds to be held in the first week of January, February and March 2020.”

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