The Kerala cabinet on Tuesday approved a draft Medical Policy which makes vaccination compulsory for school admissions. All students seeking admission must produce a vaccination card, said state Health Minister KK Shailaja.
Sharing the draft with the media, the Health Minister said that the new policy would revitalise the health sector.
Other major highlights in the draft policy include autonomy for state run medical colleges, a mandate for primary health centres in the state to function until 6 pm, and special clinics for transgender persons.
Prepared by a team of 17 experts which was led by eminent neurosurgeon and Kerala University's former Vice-Chancellor B Iqbal, the draft also proposes a training programme for the public, in trauma care so as to act quickly when an accident occurs.
According to the current basic health protocol in the state, vaccines for babies, starting from two months, includes diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, measles, mumps, rubella and polio.
The policy comes after Kerala Government’s vaccination drive last year, which had to be extended after facing several roadblocks. The vaccination mission had to build resistance against the social media anti-vaccination campaign. A number of Facebook posts and WhatsApp messages appeared that cited the hazards of vaccination.
Articles by Dr Khadeeja Mumtaz, retired professor at Kozhikode Medical College were published by dailies.
“MR Vaccine will harm the natural immunisation of children. Measles and Rubella are not severe diseases for children. It comes with a fever and then goes. Once it comes at childhood, a child gets lifetime immunisation and it won’t come again. Vaccination’s assurance is only for 10 years. After 10 years, the disease can come. So by giving vaccination, a disease that would have come only in childhood without any complications has now been shifted to the youth stage. For adults, this disease can create problems especially during pregnancy,” the article stated without concrete evidence to support it.
With several parents joining the anti-vaccination campaign and nurses and doctors being administering vaccines being manhandled, the government had a difficult time carrying out the drive.
With the new policy, more clashes are expected to follow. However, it is a positive step to ensuring that all children stay healthy and immune to severe diseases.
(With inputs from IANS)