A worker holds a measles-rubella (MR) vaccine. Over 55 lakh children in Delhi were to be given the vaccine in two months.(AFP)
Delhi might not be able to complete the ongoing countrywide measles-rubella (MR) vaccine campaign, if the court does not review its decision and agree on an opt-out method of consent.
Over 55.5 lakh children were to be given the MR vaccine during the two-month long campaign. However, a day before it was to start on January 16, the Delhi High Court deferred it saying that proper informed consent had not been sought. The final order asked the Delhi government to seek written consent from all parents.
The Delhi government will challenge the decision in front of a two-judge bench in the high court.
“We will have to give up on the campaign mode if the decision is not overturned in the review petition. Then, we will vaccinate the children as and when they come to our healthcare facilities,” said an official from the health department of Delhi government, on condition of anonymity. The current order of the court cannot be implemented, the official said. “As per the court’s order, the health department will have to get written consent from each and every child. There is no way that we will be able to get consent from the parents of 95% of the children,” the official explained. Apart from that, the court has also asked the Delhi government to advertise the complete vaccination time-table, along with detailed pros and cons of the vaccine. “This is an impossible task. If we give out a detailed time-table, the advertisement would take up pages and pages. A lot of money would be needed just for this. Plus, we might not strictly be able to adhere a date-wise time-table, if we need to postpone the campaign in some schools because of logistical problems, it will be a contempt!” said the official.