Mumps vaccine in NIP from mid-2011
The mumps vaccine will be included into the National Immunization
Program (NIP) from mid 2011, said Health Ministry Consultant
Epidemiologist Dr Sudath Peiris. He was addressing a public seminar on
Vaccines at the Public Library Auditorium yesterday.
This vaccine will be introduced as a combine vaccine for Measles,
Mumps and Rubella (MMR). The MMR vaccine will be given free of charge to
all children in the country under the NIP. NIP covers only mumps and
rubella. The MMR contains two injections and the first one should be
given when a child completes one year. The Health Ministry has still not
decided on the age limit for the second injection. There are 70
infectious diseases for humans. High quality vaccines have been
introduced to immune 32 such diseases. The NIP will include immunization
for 12 such diseases with the new addition.
“The Government spends a large sum for immunization programs annually
to improve the health standard of the country. Over 400,000 babies are
born annually in the country. A huge amount is spent on vaccines
considering the effectiveness of those vaccines to prevent deaths and
illnesses caused due to infectious diseases,” Dr Peiris said.
He said that no polio patient was recorded in Sri Lanka for the last
18 years due to the continuous vaccination of polio through the NIP. The
last polio patient was reported in 1993, he said.
“The new generation has not even heard of some of the infectious
diseases which were commonly in the country in the past days. Therefore
we see a decline of interest among parents to vaccinate their children.
It is important vaccinate. Otherwise there could be an outbreak of
infectious diseases once again,” he noted.
Dr Peiris also pointed out that Sri Lanka has an excellent
immunization program compared with other countries. The NIP can be
attributed 50 percent credit for the lower infant mortality rates in the
country. The age limits for vaccines are decided only after serious
scientific and technological studies and therefore giving these vaccines
at the correct age is important, he added.
Colombo University Paediatrics Emeritus Prof Sanath Lamabadusuriya
revealed that a new Japanese Encephalitis vaccine with one injection is
introduced to replace three to four course vaccine given earlier. He
said that this new injection can be taken from Government hospitals and
it is still not available on private medical institutions.