Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare Harsh Vardhan has announced that a mass immunisation programme against Japanese Encephalitis and Acute Encephalitis Syndrome will be begin in some States on June 22 and 23.

The Minister intends to start the drive against encephalitis in the nature of the pulse polio campaign, under which volunteers go to each household to immunise children at regular intervals.

Vulnerable districts India’s successful anti-polio campaign resulted in the country being recognised as polio-free in January.

It is estimated that these vector-borne diseases take close to 1,000 lives every year, with Bihar and Uttar Pradesh being some of the worst effected States.

In the last fortnight itself, at 44 children in six districts of Bihar succumbed to these diseases and in Uttar Pradesh the annual death toll is in the range of 500-600.

Vardhan said, “I have asked the Ministry’s officials to work in tandem with their counterparts in the states to identify the most vulnerable districts within a day and the actual immunisation will take place over June 22 and 23.”

Vardhan further said, “I am giving full authority to all concerned to go on the overdrive. We must have a total immunisation campaign for encephalitis in the affected districts.”