Covid Disrupted the Regular Immunization Drive
IAP urges paediatricians to be proactive while dealing with vaccine preventable diseases
Mumbai: Indian Academy of Paediatrics (IAP), India’s largest body of Paediatricians and second largest in the world, has come up with an updated set of rules on child immunization for the first time after the Covid pandemic. Covid-19 saw the Covid vaccination drive in a robust mode, however regular vaccinations suffered a jolt. As a consequence of the fall in regular vaccination drives, there occurred a surge in other vaccine-preventable diseases like measles which were previously very well controlled in states such as Maharashtra and Kerala. Ignorance and negligence regarding any standard vaccination will cause a backlash.
On this occasion, IAP also launched its first book on standardized treatment guidelines for 150 conditions and guidelines on common childhood illnesses. The books were released by Dr YK Amdekar, a veteran in the field of Paediatrics, who while releasing the book said, “Immunization is a proven tool for controlling and even eradicating disease. A successful immunization program is of particular relevance to India, as a significant number of deaths attributable to vaccine preventable diseases. There is no doubt that substantial progress has been achieved in India with wider use of vaccines, resulting in prevention of several diseases. I urge all my paediatrician friends present here to keep their dedication and commitment towards the IAP as we continue to contribute to children’s health in India.”
India has overcome polio in the last few years. The country was able to manage measles and rubella with the help of regular immunization of infants and children before the pandemic. The Covid pandemic disrupted the regular immunization drive in India as parents were scared to take their children for vaccination owing to the risk of transmission of the covid virus. Also, a lot of misinformation was being circulated on social media that dissuaded parents from getting their children vaccinated. There was a significant fall in the vaccination drive especially when it came to diseases such as rubella and measles which are most commonly seen in children between 9-15 months of age. The rising measles cases in Mumbai and Kerala were a matter of concern and this was never expected by the experts across the country. In view of the dramatic drop in regular immunization drives and the unpredictable outbreak of measles and rubella cases, IAP released new guidelines for regular vaccination drives.
In addition , IAP also released a manual for standardizing treatment for 150 common conditions affecting child health.
Dr Remesh Kumar R, President of the Indian Academy Of Paediatrics (IAP) said, “We have launched updated guidelines regarding regular vaccination drives and even Covid vaccination. The aim is to boost the vaccination drive and update the IAP members who are Child health specialists to emphasize the strengthening of the vaccination and immunization system after the Covid pandemic. Another main objective is to rationalize the prescription practice of pediatricians on a common front. For example; if a patient is detected with a particular illness, the treatment chosen will be antibiotics or other drugs. The treatment should stand on one platform and not vary from one doctor to another. And apart from infections, treatment guidelines for autism, poisoning, drowning etc also need to be standardized.”
Dr Remesh added, “This is the first book wherein the IAP has standardized treatment protocols for 150 conditions. Now, there will be better quality of treatment and a better outcome for children. This can lead to better utilization of government and non-government resources, budget, and human resources. The guidelines will be set to make the practice more ethical, rational, and justifiable in a uniform way. The treatment approaches to illnesses are mentioned briefly in bulleted format to be followed easily. There won’t be any difference of opinion among the members when it comes to immunization. The immunization book will be distributed free of cost to all the paediatricians, at the doorstep so that they practice the guidelines proactively. The soft copy of the recommendations will be available on the IAP’s website. We urge the members of IAP to be more proactive while dealing with these vaccine-preventable diseases, stay vigilant and sensitized.”