Children immunisation fell short by 7.2% between April ’19 and Mar ’20: Centre

The government fell short by 7 per cent in achieving coverage of full immunisation of children between April 2019 and March 2020. The information was shared in the Parliament by Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare, Ashwini Kumar Choubey, on Monday.

“The full immunisation coverage stands at 92.8 per cent as per the Health Management Information System (HMIS) data from April 2019 to March 2020,” a statement shared by Choubey read.

He also shared the various reasons behind not meeting the target, including lack of awareness and fear of side-effects, among others.

“There are pockets where children remain deprived of completing the doses of vaccination on account of various reasons, such as lack of awareness about the benefits of immunisation, apprehensions of Adverse Event Following Immunisation (AEFI), refusal for vaccination and operational gaps,” the minister said.

However, special vaccination drives like Mission Indradhanush, Intensified Mission Indradhanush, Gram Swaraj Abhiyan and Extended GSA have been carried out to reach the children being left out of vaccination, the minister added.

Besides, to mitigate low immunisation coverage, strategic interventions like advocacy, social mobilisation, community engagement, interpersonal communication at the family level and media engagement are also undertaken, Choubey informed the Parliament.

In addition to the aforementioned measures, the Centre has also initiated outreach programmes to spread awareness about immunisation.

“Awareness is being generated through electronic and print media like radio, television, poster, hoardings etc., inter-personal communication by frontline health workers like Auxiliary Nurse Midwife (ANM) and Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs), utilising social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp and print media platforms and social mobilisation by Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs) and other community workers,” the Union Health Ministry informed.

The activities are undertaken by the government bodies in coordination with non-governmental organisations (NGOs), it added.

The Centre recently launched the Intensified Mission Indradhanush (IMI) drive, under which specific immunisation sessions are conducted in pockets with low immunisation coverage and areas where the proportion of unvaccinated and partially vaccinated children is the highest.