Media reports of 11 lakh children missing first measles dose "inaccurate": Health Ministry

New Delhi: Union health ministry on Saturday said that media reports claiming that an estimated 11 lakh children in India missed their first measles vaccine in 2022 are "ill-informed and innacurate."

A total of 2,63,63,270 children out of the eligible 2,63,84,580 children received their first dose of Measles Containing Vaccine in the Financial Year 2022-23.

There have been some media reports alleging that an estimated 11 lakh children in India missed their first measles vaccine dose in 2022, according to 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 January 1, 2022 to December 31, 2022, the ministry said in a statement.

However, as per the HMIS of Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, a total of 2,63,63,270 children out of the eligible 2,63,84,580 children received their first dose of Measles Containing Vaccine (MCV) in the FY 2022-23 (April 2022 to March 2023) and only 21,310 children missed their first dose of Measles Containing Vaccine (MCV) in 2022-23, the ministry said.

Besides this, several initiatives have been undertaken by the Government of India 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 five years.

The MR campaign was carried out in Delhi and West Bengal wherein all children in the age group of 9 months to 15 years (nine months to five years in Delhi) were vaccinated with campaign dose of MR vaccine. The coverage of both the States reached more than 95 per cent.
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 less than 9 months in areas where the measles cases in less than 9 months are above 10 per cent of the total measles cases to not miss any child.

The Non measles Non rubella (NMNR) discard rate is more than 5.8 per cent, the highest achieved so far for the country for the current financial year, indicating a robust surveillance mechanism in place.

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