Epidemiology Unit of the Health Ministry is continuing its MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) Catch-up Immunization Program for children aged between 9 months and 15 years over this weekend.
The program will be held island-wide on Jan. 20 and 21.
There has been a decrease in measles vaccination rates both globally and regionally during the recent COVID-19 pandemic.
Epidemiology Unit says this resulted in a significant increase in the incidence of measles cases on both a global and regional level.
Adding to this global challenge, Sri Lanka is currently experiencing an imported Measles outbreak since May 2023.
A considerable number of cases have been reported to date predominantly among vaccine refusal communities and subsequently spreading to those who were partially vaccinated (between 9 months – 3 years), the Epidemiology Unit emphasized.
In response to this situation, a nationwide MMR Catch-up Immunization Program was on January 06, specifically targeting children aged 9 months to 15 years who have missed their due routine MMR vaccinations.
Epidemiology Unit said children who missed the opportunity to receive the MMR dose during the initial campaign, catch-up doses can be administered at the routine immunization clinic within their respective Medical Officer of Health (MOH) areas.
The primary goal of this initiative is to ensure that children aged 9 months to 15 years have the opportunity to receive any missed routine MMR vaccinations.
Parents and caregivers are strongly encouraged to bring their eligible children to the nearest immunization clinic to facilitate catch-up vaccination.
This collective effort contributes to the overall public health goal of preventing the spread of measles in Sri Lanka, Epidemiology Unit said further.
Meanwhile, the MMR Supplementary Immunization Activity (SIA) initiated on January 06 for children aged 6-9 months is also being rolled out further on Saturdays until February 03.
The SIA takes place from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. in Colombo (including the CMC area), Gampaha, Kalutara, Galle, Matara, Kandy, Jaffna, Kurunegala and Kalmunai health districts. Children born between April 07, 2023, and July 05, 2023, are eligible to receive the additional vaccination dose.