IF there is one thing that the ongoing pandemic has laid bare, it is how critical vaccination is. Scientists are speeding ahead to produce an effective vaccine for Covid-19 that has already claimed over one million lives worldwide. People in every corner of the globe hope for a fighting chance against the disease through a vaccine. So the importance of childhood vaccinations cannot be overstated as babies and young children are among the most vulnerable groups to succumb to lethal infections.
The danger to the health of India’s underprivileged children is at an all-time high due to the pandemic. Vulnerable and malnourished infants and children, who were already at greater risk of contracting lethal diseases, are bearing the brunt of the immediate and long-term damage caused by COVID-19. The closure of government healthcare centres, suspension of the school midday meal scheme, loss of family income during the lockdown have exacerbated the underlying problem of malnutrition in India.
To make matters worse, the pandemic has disrupted their immunisation schedules. In April 2020, 2.9 million children in India missed their first dose of the measles vaccine due to the lockdown and at least one lakh children did not receive their BCG vaccination for tuberculosis in March. Other childhood vaccinations such as pentavalent and rotavirus vaccines that build immunity against meningitis, pneumonia, diphtheria and tetanus, among other diseases were missed by another two lakh children.
As per a Unicef report, only 65% of children in India receive full immunization during the first year of their life. This is in spite of the clear evidence about how critical vaccines are in saving lives and controlling diseases.
Immunization through vaccines is the most effective and inexpensive way to protect the lives and future of children. Through them, children develop immunity that protects them against diseases even before they come into contact with them. When the prescribed schedule for childhood vaccination is followed, it also protects siblings, family members, and the community from contracting the disease.
Child Rights and You (CRY) is an NGO working to improve the lives of underprivileged children in India. They have been ensuring that regular vaccinations are provided to children to avoid their susceptibility to deadly diseases.
Their immediate goal is to raise funds in order to immunize 40,000 children up to the age of 5 years in the next 6-8 months. Your donation can help these children get vaccinated for preventable diseases such as tuberculosis, diphtheria, hepatitis B, polio and typhoid in 17 states of India, including Maharashtra, Gujarat, UP, MP, Chattisgarh, West Bengal, Orissa among others.
At ₹1,000 per child, CRY will provide a cycle of vaccinations for one child for a year. It would take ₹5,000 to provide a complete five-year schedule of childhood vaccinations for one child.
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