Pilot vaccination drive against Japanese Encephalitis for children from March - Hindustan Times
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Pilot vaccination drive against Japanese Encephalitis for children from March

ByVicky Pathare
Feb 08, 2024 10:22 PM IST

The drive will start in four regions of Maharashtra including Pune city, Pimpri-Chinchwad, Raigad and Parbhani

Beginning March, the state health department will initiate a pilot vaccination drive against Japanese Encephalitis (JE) for children in four regions of Maharashtra including Pune city, Pimpri-Chinchwad, Raigad and Parbhani.

In three districts, children in both government and private schools, anganwadis, and in the community will be vaccinated. (REPRESENTATIVE PHOTO)
In three districts, children in both government and private schools, anganwadis, and in the community will be vaccinated. (REPRESENTATIVE PHOTO)

The first phase of the JE vaccination for children was carried out a couple of years ago in 16 districts of Maharashtra including Gondia, Gadchiroli, Wardha, Solapur, Bhandara and Dharashiv among others. Following directions from the ministry of health and family welfare (MoHFW), the second phase of the JE vaccination will be started in Pune, Raigad and Parbhani, officials said.

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Dr Pravin Vedpathak, assistant director of the state family welfare department, who is in charge of routine immunisation, said that the immunisation will start in March and around 50 lakh children in the age group of one to 15 years in these districts will be vaccinated against JE during the special vaccination drive. The vaccinations will be given free of cost as per the guidelines of the union health ministry, he said.

In all three districts, children in both government and private schools, anganwadis, and in the community will be vaccinated. The JE vaccine dose of 0.5ml will be administered in the muscle on the outer side of the left thigh. Only a single dose of the vaccine will be given during the drive. Later, the JE vaccine in these districts will be included in the routine immunisation programme, said the officials.

Dr Vedpathak further said that the elimination of JE is one of the major priorities of the central government due to which, they have been directed to conduct JE immunisation. “The local bodies have been asked to ensure that the cold chain is prepared. The training of the staff and planning is under process,” he said.

The JE virus spreads through the bite of an infected mosquito. Although symptomatic JE is rare, the case fatality rate among those with JE can be as high as 30%. Permanent neurologic or psychiatric sequelae can occur in 30% to 50% of the people infected with encephalitis. Around 20% to 30% JE-recovered patients develop permanent intellectual, behavioural or neurological sequelae such as paralysis, recurrent seizures or the inability to speak.

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