Covid-19: Routine immunisation of children suffers setback in pandemic era
Many children of construction workers are missing out on routine immunisation.
With the Covid-19 pandemic dominating the healthcare sector, routine immunisation of children, especially among the urban poor, has suffered a setback, according to an expert committee.
A.V. Chandrashekhar, a former high court judge and chairman of a committee set up for implementation of a scheme by the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) for workers in the unorganised sector in Karnataka, said many children of construction workers are missing out on routine immunisation.
“We are concerned as there could be another pandemic due to this,” he told a newspaper in Bangalore. “We had a meeting with paediatric experts and officials from the Health Department and have conveyed our concerns to them.”
According to Chandrashekhar, the officials claimed there was 100 per cent routine immunisation coverage, but this was only in rural areas. “Children of construction workers who have migrated from rural areas to cities are the ones who have lost out on routine immunisation,” he said. “We cannot blame anyone as the entire official machinery is busy battling the pandemic.”
The National Health Mission had referred to a sharp decrease in routine immunisation services, noting that at least 100,000 children did not get their Bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccinations and 200,000 missed out on Pentavalent (5-in-1) vaccines in India.
Prashanth Urs, a senior consultant neonatologist at Apollo Hospital, said the pandemic has put childhood immunisation at risk. “The avoidable suffering and death caused by children missing out on routine immunisations could be far greater than Covid-19 itself,” he warned.
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