More than 200 people were given Measles-Rubella (MR) vaccine in Paro yesterday.

Paro’s health sector will conduct Supplementary Immunisation Activity (SIA) on MR vaccination in identified areas from April 9 to 13 as per the directives from the health ministry.

A health official said SIA is intended to complement routine immunization and to increase the measles vaccination coverage.

Except for those who received MR vaccination within one month after birth, pregnant women and those students who have received the vaccination last year during SIA, the vaccination will be given to all between nine months to 40 years of age irrespective of past immunization status.

The campaign was conducted near Naksel Hotel, Shumo and at the Monlam Chenmo ground yesterday. The Monlam Chenmo ground will be the vaccination post until April 13.

A notification issued by dzongdag on April 7 states that the activity is being conducted because Paro hospital has been receiving a few cases of measles sporadically.

A health official said that two measles cases were reported at Paro hospital after Bhutan eliminated measles in 2018 before the regional target of 2020.

The official said that since Bhutan is in the elimination phase, even a single case is considered an outbreak. “What we are doing is a preventive measure.”

Although mortality from measles is rare, measles is a highly contagious disease.

People in the identified areas were informed through the tshogpas and the chipoens.

“We met with them and asked them to pass the information to make sure that everyone in the area is informed,” the health official said.

People residing in and around Paro town, Nyimezampa, Nesu-Gaptey, Ngoba-Shumo areas are requested to come for the vaccination.

The official said that just by covering the high-risk populations, a herd protection effect is created, which means those who are not vaccinated in the other areas are also protected because there are a few susceptible people left to infect.

The measles vaccination programme was first introduced in the country in 1979. The second dose of measles vaccination for children at 24 months was started in 2006.

Dechen Tshomo