As per the records, the world’s one-third of the rabies deaths are from India. According to the Health Ministry, India is the hotbed for human rabies. India is currently facing a shortage of ant-rabies vaccines in certain part of the country. The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority has asked the manufacturers and marketers to rush stocks to the areas that are suffering from a severe shortage of anti-rabies vaccines. In India, approximately 20,000 deaths are caused due to vaccine-preventable fatality each year. Therefore, rapid response to this issue is a need of the hour.
In recent years, there is a significant increase in the measles cases at the global level. This is mainly attributed to the increase in the vaccine hesitancy. This led to the World Health Organisation to declare “vaccine hesitancy” as one of the 10 deadly threats to global health in 2019. Yet, it still remains a threat to the international community given the increasing misinformation in the current Information Age.
The member nations of the WHO Regional Committee for South-East Asia have postponed the deadline for achieving the eradication of measles and rubella. India accounts for 36% of the global measles cases. The major campaign undertaken by the Indian government is currently facing challenges due to the reluctance of the public and also because of its vast coverage. The deadline has been postponed mainly due to these hindrances. The government needs to address these issues to make India free from the two major childhood killers – measles and rubella
As India is preparing to vaccinate most of its population against the COVID-19 disease, India’s immunisation programme and its readiness have come to the fore as a matter of discussion. Immunisation is a proven tool to control and eliminate life-threatening diseases. India has numerous schemes and programmes to save its population from various diseases and it has the legacy of adhering to reach the goals it set for itself. The Government of India in collaboration with the States runs various immunisation programmes throughout the country and ensures the health and wellness of its population. At the same, the country faces several challenges in delivering vaccines to targeted beneficiaries and thus it will be keenly observed how the nation deals with the challenges in administering its immunisation programmes.
In January 2020, the Supreme Court sought response from the health ministry and environment ministry to the Public Interest Litigation seeking the right to euthanasia for persons suffering from rabies. This petition points out the limitations of SC’s 2018 judgement that provided for guidelines for passive euthanasia.