Times of India | 2 weeks ago | 22-11-2022 | 10:14 am
PUNE: State officials going door-to-door to find children who’ve missed out on early vaccines fear districts with more home births and high levels of vaccine hesitancy face a high risk of disease outbreaks as infants often miss out on crucial vaccines. These door-to-door drives were launched as a response to measles outbreaks being reported in parts of the state. Data shows out of the 4,815 home deliveries reported between April and October this year, 1,804 were in municipal limits and the rest, 3,011, were in rural areas. Among the rural deliveries, Nandurbar reported 2,059, Bhiwandi 925, Malegaon 566 and Gadchiroli 329. And of these regions, Malegaon and Bhiwandi are also where officials are finding cases of measles this year, and worrying levels of hesitancy. Dr Sapna Thakre, medical officer with the Malegaon municipal corporation, said children delivered at home often miss out on vaccines against diseases such as measles. She said: “If it’s not the first child, several families insist on home births. While many take the first dose of the painless BCG vaccine, there’s substantial resistance towards the measles-rubella jab as side-effects may include fever, swelling at injection site and some pain. This is what makes parents reluctant. A child may get the first MR shot, but many families don’t turn up for the second.” State officials said that despite the number of home births, efforts are being made to vaccinate every child. Dr Sachin Desai, state immunisation officer, said, “ASHA workers record every pregnancy. So even if a child is delivered at home, they turn up to ensure the baby is vaccinated.” But Dr Thakre said areas where vaccine hesitancy is prevalent have in the past resisted visits by ASHAs. Dr Aarti Kinikar, head of Sassoon’s paediatrics department, said: “We need to carefully analyse correlation between home births and vaccination. Every child that has missed a shot could be tracked to determine if it was a home or hospital delivery.” She added that many home births are also accidental. “Lack of access to medical care can lead to home deliveries. The state has a good network to track early immunisation, thanks to the ASHA workers. Hesitancy is a key reason why children are missing out on vaccine.”
MUMBAI: A few days before Govandi resident Sahrunissa Khan's daughter turned six weeks old, a team of civic officials landed at her doorstep and began convincing her to get the infant immunised with the first routine vaccine shots due after 45 days of birth. The team members were prepared to face refusal and even hostility like they had on several occasions in the past. However, they were pleasantly surprised when the mother agreed readily and arrived with the baby on schedule for the pentavalent, rotavirus and doses of oral polio vaccine. Khan (38) had lost two of her sons, five-year-old Hasnain and three-year-old Noorain, to measles in the last week of October. The deaths of her sons and another child from the family exposed the seriousness of the measles outbreak in the city. When her sons passed away, Khan had recently delivered her 10th child. As per civic records, the parents had not vaccinated the other children, including Hasnain and Noorain. But they found more willingness for vaccination this time around, the official said. The mother said, "Vaccination is necessary for a child's well-being, and we know that now". "There was promptness and inclination to get the child vaccinated this time. It is not just this family, but most parents across Govandi appear to be shedding their aversion towards vaccines," said a civic official, adding that they constantly followed up with the family to ensure the newborn didn't miss her scheduled vaccine shots. Once the mother was convinced, a community health volunteer escorted her to the health post last week, where the vaccines were administered. A volunteer also visited the house in Rafiq Nagar the following day to ensure the child was doing alright, said the official. "Previously, our volunteers were often chased away, but that stand is softening following the measles deaths," the official said. More than two months since the measles outbreak, cases have started to plateau in the worst-hit pocket and largely across the city. Vaccination of children between nine months and five years is also picking pace. Another civic official said they previously detected 20-25 suspected cases from Rafiq Nagar alone, but it has now dropped to a handful. On Wednesday, Mumbai registered 70 suspected cases of fever and rash. The daily detection of suspected cases has remained in the range of 70-77 for over a week. The number of outbreaks in the city has crossed 55 and 110 in Maharashtra. In the special vaccination drive, nearly 18,000 children out of 1.8 lakh aged between nine months and five years have been given an additional dose of the measles-rubella vaccine, while almost 800 babies out of 3,569 have been given the zero dose of the vaccine.
To contain the spread of measles, the state health department has decided to conduct a special vaccination campaign in two phases between December 15 and January 25, 2023. Under this, children aged between nine months and five years, who have missed their scheduled dose of measles-rubella (MR), will be inoculated with the two doses at an interval of four weeks.As of now, over 1.72 lakh children are due for their first and second doses.For this, the health department has instructed all districts to collect the data of children who haven’t been vaccinated against their target of immunisation.The special vaccination drive will be carried out between December 15 and 25 in the first phase. In the second phase, it will be held from January 15 to 25 next year.“It has been instructed by the health minister and the task force to boost up the vaccination drive across the state. So, we will identify these dropout children and inoculate them,” said Dr Pradip Awate, State Surveillance Officer.The decision comes on the back of Maharashtra witnessing 109 outbreaks of measles – the highest since 2019. Children between 6 months and 5 years were found to be more severely impacted by measles with most of them being unvaccinated. The total number of confirmed cases has surged to 851 to date.Meanwhile, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has set up 52 health posts across the city where 14,285 children between the age group of 9 months and 5 years have been administered additional doses while 725 children between six to nine months given zero doses of MR vaccine.
Pune: As many as 677 malnourished children across villages in Pune rural are now showing signs of improvement after the zilla parishad launched a special campaign to provide nutritional support.The two-month long campaign, held to prevent serious measles cases among malnourished children, found a total of 848 children in dire need of support — 131 were found suffering from severe acute malnutrition (SAM) and another 717 kids were diagnosed with moderate acute malnutrition. Of the 131 with SAM, 107 are now showing improvement and from the MAM category, 570 children are recovering, officials said.Some 823 measles cases and at least 96 outbreaks have been detected this year in Maharashtra. The disease can be particularly harmful for malnourished children. Officials said they have also been told to ensure such children are given the MMR vaccine.Rural health authorities said the malnourished children were given the necessary nutritional support for at least 50 days, nearly months. These kids were enrolled at anganwadi centres and fed eight times a day and also given medicines. Officials said the rate of improvement among the malnourished kids was nearly 80% while the remaining 20% continue to be monitored.Worldwide, measles has been on the rise due to vaccine hesitancy and disruptions in routine immunisation caused by Covid-19. The World Health Organisation estimates that in 2021, a record high of nearly 40 million children likely missed a measles jab as countries stopped vaccine drives to divert healthcare resources to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.
HYDERABAD: Bharat Biotech on Monday said its iNCOVACC has become the world’s first intranasal Covid-19 vaccine to receive emergency use authorisation (EUA) as a primary vaccine as well as heterologous booster for those who have received two doses of another vaccine. Both the EUAs have been granted for those aged 18 years and above. iNCOVACC is a recombinant replication deficient adenovirus vectored vaccine with a pre-fusion stabilized SARS-CoV-2 spike protein derived from the Wuhan strain. Bharat Biotech chairman & managing director Dr Krishna Ella, said the company has also initiated development of variant-specific vaccines for Covid-19 for future preparedness. “Despite the lack of demand for Covid-19 vaccines, we continued product development in intranasal vaccines to ensure that we are well-prepared with platform technologies for future infectious diseases,” he said. The Hyderabad-based vaccine maker said with the approvals from the Indian drug regulator now in place, it will be announcing the launch dates, pricing and availability of the vaccine in due course of time. The vaccine is expected to become available for administration post its integration with the Cowin portal. Bharat Biotech said the intranasal vaccine platform -- iNCOVACC – offers the double benefit of enabling faster development of variant-specific vaccines and easy nasal delivery will enable mass immunisation to protect from emerging variants of concern during pandemics and epidemics. The vaccine, which was evaluated in phase-1,2 and 3 clinical trials, has been specifically formulated to allow intranasal delivery through nasal drops and has been designed and developed to be cost-effective in low- and middle-income countries as it can be stored at 2-8°C, the company added. The company said it has established large manufacturing capabilities at multiple sites across India, including Gujarat, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Telangana, with operations pan India. After the Indian drug regulator granted EUA for iNCOVACC as a primary two-dose vaccine in September this year, the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) on Friday last granted EUA for the booster. While the phase-3 trials to test the safety and immunogenicity of iNCOVACC as a primary two-dose vaccine were conducted on around 3,100 volunteers at 14 sites across India, that for the heterologous booster were conducted on around 875 volunteers at 9 trial sites across India. Its immunogenicity was evaluated through serum neutralizing antibodies by PRNT assays and serum IgG’s through ELISA’s. To evaluate the vaccine, which is taken through the intranasal route, IgA’s were evaluated by ELISA in serum and saliva. Evaluation was also carried out for the ability of iNCOVACC to elicit long-term memory T and B cell responses against the ancestral and omicron variants. iNCOVACC was also evaluated to determine its impact on safety and the reactogenic events and adverse events that were documented during the trial were highly comparable to published data from other Covid-19 vaccines, Bharat Biotech said. “The product development data will be submitted to peer reviewed journals and will be made available in the public domain,” said Bharat Biotech which developed the vaccine in partnership with Washington University, St Louis. While WashU designed and developed the recombinant adenoviral vectored construct and evaluated it in preclinical studies for efficacy, the product development related to preclinical safety evaluation, large-scale manufacturing scale up, formulation and delivery device development, including human clinical trials, were conducted by Bharat Biotech. Product development and clinical trials were funded in part by the Government of India, through the department of biotechnology’s COVID Suraksha Programme.
Around 7,909 owners who lost their cattle to Lumpy Skin Disease (LSD) have received a compensation of Rs 20.12 crore.As many as 20,361 animals across Maharashtra have died of LSD since its outbreak in September this year. The spread of LSD has been reported in 3,741 epicentres of 34 districts in Maharashtra till Thursday, with a declining trend now. Out of the 2,98,285 infected livestock, around 2,19,657 have recovered and the remaining are being treated, said the Animal Husbandry Department.LSD is a cutaneous viral disease of bovines, which is not transmitted to human beings either from animals or through cow milk, and is recorded only in bovines.Maharashtra Animal Husbandry Commissioner Sachindra Pratap Singh, meanwhile, has issued directions to implement ‘Majha Gotha, Swachh Gotha’ campaign to prevent the spread of the disease, especially as the State Level Task Force (SLTF) found out that the practise of grazing herds and public livestock watering were among the reasons for the spread of LSD.Singh has also appealed to the cattle owners to be aware and take preventive measures, and has asked the farmers and gram panchayats to follow guidelines for insect vector control, disinfection, and isolation issued by the Maharashtra Animal and Fisheries Science University (MAFSU) on October 7 this year. Government and private veterinary practitioners should treat animals infected with LSD, according to the MAFSU’s revised protocol dated October 17.Farmers have also been urged to avail free treatment and administer vaccination to the infected cattle at their doorstep and provide related details to nearby government veterinary dispensaries, and extend cooperation to local veterinarians in the treatment of the ailing animals. Maharashtra has completed vaccinating 138.47 lakh animals i.e. 98.96 per cent of the cattle for free, with several districts receiving a total of 144.12 lakh vaccine doses till date.