Mumbai: Parents from Muslim community wary of new MR vaccination
In order to dispel the misconceptions about the vaccine fuelled by viral posts and videos on social media, parents from Dongri and Bhendi Bazaar were invited to an open discussion with paediatricians and officials from WHO and the BMC on Thursday
The central government's Measles-Rubella vaccination campaign has become a matter of concern among parents in the Muslim community who are uncomfortable with the involvement of schools and they are unwilling to get their children to take the vaccination. In order to dispel the misconceptions about the vaccine fuelled by viral posts and videos on social media, parents from Dongri and Bhendi Bazaar were invited to an open discussion with paediatricians and officials from WHO and the BMC on Thursday.
The parents' concerns stem from rumours based on videos and messages being circulated on social media suggests that the MR vaccination has been designed to sterilise the next generation to wipe out the Muslim community. Unwilling to reveal their identity, a parent said that she was deeply suspicious about the vaccinations being given at the schools instead of at hospitals. "Our school management says that it's mandatory. Polio is given at health camps then why should our child get the vaccination at school? They want to keep our child under observation after the injection is given even though it's not done for other vaccinations," she said.
Another parent questioned the need for a second vaccination since the Measles, Mumps and Rubella vaccination already exists. "My daughter has already had the MMR vaccination. Then why do we have to give her vaccination twice when it's only meant to be taken once? The school refuses to answer our questions," she said.
Vivek Pardeshi, the surveillance medical officer from WHO who was also present at the meeting pointed out that the vaccination is a part of the efforts of eradicating Measles and Rubella which are life-threatening diseases. "Similar concerns have been voiced whenever vaccinations were first introduced. The campaign was launched on February 7, 2017 which has been carried out at 21 states. Till date there has been no noticeable fatal reaction to the vaccination," he said.
Pardeshi added that the vaccination will be given to around 30 lakh children in Mumbai between the ages of 9 months and 15 years in the state from November 27 onwards. "Since 20 lakh children are enrolled in schools, we will first start there and after covering all the schools over three weeks, we will set up booths at the 208 BMC health posts for children below the age of 5 years. Later we will tie up with private hospitals as well," he said.
The meeting was organised by Congress MLA Amin Patel and around 15 parents whose children are studying at Diamond Jubilee School attended the meeting. "After a discussion with the parents and officials, it has been decided that the BMC officials will conduct a meeting with all the principals in the area and a list of standard guidelines will be shared with them," he said. Patel added that the parents are worried about leaving their child alone at the time of vaccination and he will try to figure out a solution to it.
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