Encephalitis vaccination campaign hampered by shortage of vaccine in Uttar Pradesh

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Gorakhpur (Uttar Pradesh), June 3 (ANI): With the vaccination programme not successfully completed in Uttar Pradesh's Gorakhpur District, the children here are under the threat of Japanese Encephalitis this year.

The inoculation drive has been hampered by a number of reasons ranging from shortage of the vaccine, to its poor quality and low potency, to vaccines that had nearly expired.We were here today to get our children vaccinated, but we came to know there will be no vaccination. We got to know the vaccines available are not of good quality," said Danesh Kumar, who had come for vaccination of his family.

"The government announces a date for vaccination and when we go to the block for vaccination, we come to know that the vaccines are not appropriate. Then why does the government announce the dates at all?" he added.

The officials said the State Government has been trying to acquire quality vaccines.

"We are trying to get more vaccines. As soon as we get them, the children will be vaccinated," said R. N. Mishra, Chief Medical Officer, Gorakhpur Zone.

The immunization drive was supposed to start from June 1. However, there were only 200,000 vaccines available against the demand of 362,000, leading the government to select only some blocks in the district, leaving out a large number of children to remain unvaccinated.

The first encephalitis vaccination campaign had taken place in Gorakhpur in 2006, but there was a gap of four years before the second drive was launched in 2010.

"The vaccines are being tested now. The changes are observed on the vaccine vial monitor. This will take another 15 days," said Dr R. N. Singh of the Encephalitis Eradication Movement.

"If the children are vaccinated after June 15, then the vaccine will be effective only by the end of July, which will take many innocent lives," he added.

Japanese encephalitis previously known as Japanese B encephalitis to distinguish it from von Economo's A encephalitis is a disease caused by the mosquito-borne Japanese encephalitis virus. (ANI)

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