SMS reminder to parents on child's vaccination date

SMS reminder to parents on child's vaccination date

Parents who forget their vaccination dates for their children can now receive reminder SMS, thanks to a nationwide alert service that was launched on Thursday.

Launched by the Indian Academy of Paediatrics, the free vaccination reminder service will cover a child from birth till 12 years of age. It will cover the vaccines under the universal immunisation programme besides some other vaccines recommended by the IAP, a professional body of 23,000 odd paediatricians.

Official estimates suggest close to 75 lakh children every year miss childhood vaccinations. A majority of them are from the under-served and marginalised populations. Also approximately two million children under five years of age, die every year.

“A large number of those who miss out on the vaccination, do not get the shots simply because the parents forget the dates,” Sailesh Gupta, IAP secretary general for 2012-13 and a practising child specialist in Mumbai told Deccan Herald.

To avail the service, parents have to first register themselves with a IAP database by sending an SMS to 566778 conveying the baby’s name and date of birth. They will receive an immediate confirmation and text message for 12 years. There will be three reminders at two day intervals for each vaccination due.

“The high rate of dropouts from prescribed immunisation schedule is not poverty related as essential vaccines are available free from the government. A major cause for dropouts is parents often forget to vaccinate their child on time in the absence of a vaccination calender maintained in a disciplined manner,” said C K Mishra, additional secretary at the health ministry, which is backing the initiative.