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Union Health Ministry introduces Rubella vaccine in its Universal Immunization Programme

The Union Health Ministry in the second week of January 2017 announced that it is introducing Rubella vaccine as Measles-Rubella vaccine in its Universal Immunization Programme (UIP).
The vaccine will be administered to children up to the age group of nine months to 15 years under Measles-Rubella Campaign in a phased manner. The campaign will be phased across India over a period of two to three years.
The Measles-Rubella Campaign aims at rapidly building up immunity for both measles and rubella.
As per the Union Health Ministry, the campaign will start in the first quarter of 2017 and will target about 41 crore children.
About Universal Immunization Programme
• The Universal Immunization Programme is a vaccination program. It was launched in 1985 by the Government of India.
• In 1992, it became a part of Child Survival and Safe Motherhood Programme.
• It consists of vaccination for 10 diseases- tuberculosis, diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), tetanus, poliomyelitis, monovalent measles, Hepatitis B, Diarrhoea, Japanese Encephalitis and Pneumonia. However, once Measles-Rubella is introduced, monovalent measles will be discontinued.
• In 2014, it was announced that four vaccines will be also added to the programme. They are rotavirus, rubella and Japanese encephalitis, as well as the injectable polio vaccine.
What is rubella?
• Rubella is an infection caused by the rubella virus.
• It is also known as German Measles or three-day measles,
• It is usually spread through the air via coughs of people who are infected.
• This disease only infects humans.
• It is preventable through rubella vaccine. It is often given in combination with the measles vaccine and mumps vaccine.
• Around 100000 cases of congenital rubella syndrome occur each year. However, rates of the disease have decreased in many areas as a result of vaccination.

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