21 May 2010
By Teena Thacker
New Delhi, India
With a view to reduce the number of children having Congenital Rubella Syndrome (CRS), responsible for causing mental retardation and other defects like hearing and vision impairment, it may be soon made mandatory for girls to get vaccinated against rubella once they reach adolescence.
In one of the recommendations being made to the Union Health Ministry last week, the technical core committee on vaccines under the chairmanship of Dr M K Bhan, secretary, department of biotechnology, has strongly recommended rubella shot for a girl who reaches adolescence and in states with high coverage.
The recommendation gains significance as approximately 20 per cent of women who marry are susceptible to rubella infection and the complications they carry are very high, which they may pass on to their child if they get infected in early pregnancy.
"Though we do not have a solid data for children having CRS in India, there are approximately 30,000 children in India who suffer from it every year. Va ccination, therefore, is a good way to avoid misery. If we want healthy children, prevention is a better way," said Dr Bhan.
The other recommendation made by the committee is that the measles vaccine should be made double dose.