Officials blame vaccine hesitancy or complacency to the second dose of the Measles Rubella (MR) vaccine, combined with children not receiving their periodic dose during the Covid-19 pandemic, for the dramatic increase in the number of measles cases in children in Ahmedabad.
In 2022, the city reported 367 confirmed measles cases, with more than three quarters (75%) of these cases reported in the last three months. It began in the second half of September, when the number of confirmed cases reached 60, and continued in October, when the case count reached 111, and November, when another 111 confirmed cases were reported to the civic body to date. Officials told Mirror that they expect more measles cases in December, despite the fact that the number of suspect cases in Ahmedabad has reached 907 so far.
Health officials have identified 20 outbreak centres in Ahmedabad, which are clustered in three areas of the city: the south, north, and east. Behrampura, Sankalitnagar, Sarkhej, Gomtinagar, Vejalpur, Danilimda, Asarwa, Narol, Rahial, Kalupur, Amraiwadi, and Piplaj are among the major areas reporting confirmed cases of measles.
Speaking to Mirror, DyMC for Health, Praveen Chaudhary said, “Two major reasons for the measles outbreak affecting these areas of the city — with 80% of cases being reported from these 20 centres is that many families had been left out of MR immunization during Covid-19 pandemic, and also the vaccine hesitancy seen for the second dose of this vaccine. The first dose is given at 9 months, and second at 1.5 years.”
Mirror has also learned that AMC Commissioner M Thennarasan conducted a detailed review of MR vaccination at the city’s 2,100 Anganwadis on Friday, instructing ANMs and ICDS teams to focus on areas where there is resistance to vaccination.