Not 11 lakh but only 21,310 children missed their 1st measles vaccine dose in 2022: Health ministry

A total of 2,63,63,270 children out of the eligible 2,63,84,580 children received their 1st dose of Measles Containing Vaccine in FY 2022-23

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New Delhi: The Union Health Ministry has denied few media reports claiming that an estimated 11 lakh children in India missed their 1st measles vaccine dose in 2022. 
Calling these reports ill-informed and inaccurate, Ministry statement mentioned that these media reports were allegedly based on a report published by the World Health Organization and US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
These reports are not based on facts and do not reflect the true picture. These reports are based on the estimated number reported under WHO UNICEF Estimates National Immunization Coverage (WUENIC) 2022 report which covers the time-period from 1st of January 2022 to 31st of December 2022, the statement informed.
In its clarification, it referred to the HMIS of Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare which states that a total of 2,63,63,270 children out of the eligible 2,63,84,580 children received their 1st dose of Measles Containing Vaccine (MCV) in the FY 2022-23 (April 2022 to March 2023) and only 21,310 children missed their 1st dose of Measles Containing Vaccine (MCV) in 2022-23.
Ministry listed several initiatives that have been undertaken in coordination with the States to ensure that all children, either unvaccinated or partially vaccinated receive all missed/due doses of Measles Containing Vaccine (MCV):
  • The catch-up vaccination age for the administration of Measles Containing Vaccine (MCV) has been increased from 2 years to 5 years in the periodic immunization intensification activities.
  • Intensified Mission Indradhanush, (IMI) 3.0 and 4.0 were carried out in 2021 and 2022 to vaccinate all unvaccinated/partially vaccinated children with missed/due doses of vaccines. Besides this, IMI 5.0 was carried out in 2023 with a special focus to increase the coverage of MR vaccine in children up to the age of 5 years.
  • MR campaign was carried out in Delhi and West Bengal wherein all children in the age group of 9 months to 15 years (9months to 5 years in Delhi) were vaccinated with campaign dose of MR vaccine. The coverage of both the States reached >95%.
  • Several States have carried out Supplementary Immunization activities and outbreak response immunization wherein a total of 30 million children have been vaccinated with an additional dose of MR vaccine.
  • A Special Advisory on Outbreak Response Immunization was shared in November 2022 which clearly stated that One dose of MRCV has to be administered to all children aged 6 months to < 9 months in areas where the measles cases in < 9 months are above 10% of the total measles cases to not miss any child.
  • The Non measles Non rubella (NMNR) discard rate is >5.8%, the highest achieved so far for the country for the current financial year, indicating a robust surveillance mechanism in place.
The Ministry statement reiterated that India’s unstinted commitment to ensure that every single child of the country is vaccinated with vaccines under Universal Immunization Programme has been recognized globally.
India’s exemplary leadership and inspiration in the Regional Measles and Rubella Programme has been highly appreciated and recognized by the Measles and Rubella Partnership comprising of multiagency planning committee including the American Red Cross, BMGF, GAVI, US CDC, UNICEF and WHO. The Measles and Rubella Partnership Champion Award is scheduled to be conferred on the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India in March 2024, at Washington DC.