Rubella or german measles can cause Congenital Rubella Syndrome (CRS) in infants born to infected mothers. This means, they can suffer from mental handicap, visual impairment, deafness and heart abnormalities, if infected with Rubella virus in the womb. Vaccination is the only way to prevent Rubella virus from infecting pregnant mothers and their unborn child. Rubella vaccination is mandatorily given to pregnant mothers in India. However, infants and older children can be optionally given the Rubella vaccine along with measles.
Integration of Rubella vaccination in the Universal Immunisation Program (UIP) can decrease the circulating viruses and eradication of Rubella can be made possible. The Ministry of Health had given its nod to the inclusion of Rubella vaccine, along with Measles in the Universal Immunisation Program, as recommended by the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation. But now, ministry is facing a financial crunch on its implementation. Other recommended vaccine, Injectable Polio has already made its way in the UIP, this November 2015. Rotavirus vaccine is also planned to be introduced in phases in feb, 2016. Measles Rubella vaccination may not be made mandatory till end of 2016 or may be till next year.
Serum Institute of India (SII) is ready to offer the Measles Rubella vaccine for whole of India at 5 times less the cost price. MR Doses for Rs 25 are ready. Hopefully, government will take the call and make Rubella vaccine reach every child, also along with pregnant mothers, free of cost soon.