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Parental consent for vaccination

Parental consent for vaccination

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  • GS 2 ||Governance|| Human Development||Health

 Why in News?

  • The Delhi High Court recently put on hold the Delhi government’s plan for a Measles, Rubella (MR) vaccination campaign in schools.
  • The court said the decision did not have the consent of parents,introducing the question of consent in vaccination.

 Basics-MR vaccine

  • The measles, rubella (MR) vaccine was introduced in the universal immunization program.
  • It has to be administered to all children between ages 9 months and 15 years.
  • But those who did not get it earlier are also vaccinated and before they reach the reproductive age group.
  • The vaccine being given in the MR campaign is produced in India and is WHO prequalified.
  • MR vaccine is safe and effective, and in use for over 40 years across 150 countries.
  • It is being given in the routine immunisation programme of India and in neighbouring countries like Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Myanmar.
  • Private practitioners in India have been giving measles-rubella (MR) or measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine to children for many years.

 Matter of Dignity

  • The petitioners settled principle that the choice of an individual,even in cases of life –saving medical treatment, is an inextricable part of dignity which is ought to be protected.

 Why is it crucial?

  • India had around 56,399 confirmed measles cases and 1,066 confirmed rubella cases in 2018.
  • Measles is a serious and highly contagious disease that can cause debilitating or fatal complications.
  • These include encephalitis, severe diarrhoea and dehydration, pneumonia, ear infections and permanent vision loss.
  • The disease is preventable through two doses of vaccine.
  • Congenital Rubella Syndrome (CRS) is an important cause of severe birth defects.

 Why is the court’s order a welcome move?

  • Obtaining parental consent prior to vaccination is the standard practice around the world.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) recognises oral, written, and implied consent to vaccination.
  • A WHO survey in 2012 in 34 countries on consent procedures for vaccination in 6-17-year-olds found approximately half the countries using written consent.
  • WHO insists that countries are encouraged to adopt procedures that ensure that parents have been informed and agreed to the vaccination.
  • Vaccination has been always a voluntary process, and there is never a compulsion involved.
  • Vaccines should be administered after people are sensitised about the disease and vaccine.

 Way forward

  • Vaccination has been always a voluntary process, and there should not involve compulsion.
  • Vaccines should be administered after people are sensitized about the disease and vaccine.

 Mains Question

  • What is an MR and its vaccines? Discuss the hurdles in immunization programme.