Dr WhatsApp and vaccine hesitancy: Why we must urgently check the grip of this new virus

It has spread like a rash and become a pandemic. One isn’t talking of measles but, ironically, the resistance to its preventive, the vaccine.

Growing worldwide concerns about immunisation are so virulent that they figure among the WHO’s 10 Greatest Public Health Threats of 2019. Vaccine hesitancy’s latest target is the measles-rubella (MR) combo; India introduced it through a special campaign in 2017. This January, 70 Mumbai schools refused to submit to the MR programme, and the civic body could vaccinate only 19.5 lakh children of its nearly 29 lakh target.

The same month, on a petition from families of students at the prestigious Modern School, the Delhi high court halted the drive (the Kerala HC had similarly refused to issue a blanket order). Justice Vibhu Bakhru ruled that the MR vaccine could not be ‘forcibly administered’ and told the AAP government to redesign the project to include ‘express consent’, specifically via a written form. Read More

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