Image courtesy World Health Organisation.

Dimapur: The state of Nagaland is working towards achieving measles-rubella (MR) elimination in the state by December 2023.

The objective is to attain and sustain measles-rubella elimination with zero transmission of endemic measles and rubella cases and target vaccination coverage of 95 per cent, according to an official report on Monday.

The state has conducted a coverage analysis to identify areas with suboptimal measles-rubella vaccination coverage.

The report said measles-rubella elimination drives were executed in April-May and August-September with a mop-up vaccination schedule from November 20 to November 30.

Measles-rubella vaccines are administered as a two-dose vaccine at nine months (MR1) and at 16-24 months (MR2).

For children who miss either dose, the vaccine can be given until the child is five years old.

The measles-rubella elimination drive focuses on children aged nine months to five years for the MR1 dose and those who missed the MR2 dose.

While the state on average reported 96 per cent coverage for MR1 and 92 per cent for MR2, inter-district variations exist, emphasising the goal of achieving over 95 [per cent coverage in all districts, the report said.

It said addressing left-outs and drop-outs is a priority to ensure comprehensive vaccination.

The state has conducted Intensified Mission Indradhanush rounds and regular routine immunisation to bridge the gap.

Fear of side effects and lack of awareness were identified as reasons for incomplete immunisation.

The report stressed that community involvement is crucial for awareness and demand generation.

It said advocacy efforts are underway to emphasise the importance of timely vaccination while reminding that vaccines are available free of cost in all government health facilities.

The state government has sought collaboration with allied departments, faith-based organisations, civil society organisations, village council chairpersons and various community groups to ensure that all children under five years of age receive their MR dose during the mop-up round in government health units.

Bhadra Gogoi is Northeast Now Correspondent in Nagaland. He can be reached at: