After the death of a 16-year-old boy of diphtheria recently in Tanur town of Malappuram district in Kerala, the government has decided to conduct a survey in the district to assess the vaccination drive. The drive is aimed at ascertaining the number of children who have not been vaccinated under Mission Indhradhanush – Prime Minister Narendra Modi's flagship programme launched last year.

Diphtheria is a serious infection of the nose and throat that is easily preventable by a vaccine.

The survey, according to a Times of India report, will prepare an updated data to review the number of partially immunised and unimmunised children in the district. The state health department is mulling to engage volunteers, medical officers, junior public health nurses and senior officials in the drive.

Currently, only 60 percent of the children in India have been immunised. Mission Indhradhanush aims to increase the immunisation cover to 90 percent.

The vaccine given to children provides protection against seven preventable diseases like Diphtheria, Pertussis, Tetanus, Polio, Measles, Tuberculosis and Hepatitis B.

In Malappuram district, nearly 2.3 lakh children in the age group of 0-6 years were found to be unimmunised or partially immunised as per a survey conducted in October 2015.

The survey noted that the total number of unimmunised children was 25,346 and about 2,03,990 children were partially immunised. The survey also highlighted that no vaccination was prevalent among children in the age group of 1-4 years compared to children in the age group of 5-7 years, according to the daily.

Health department officials are, meanwhile, contesting these figures, calling them as outdated.

Deputy medical officer of Malappuram, R Renuka, was quoted by the TOI as saying that a recent vaccination programme targeting children in the 0-2 years age group achieved 90 percent results, whereas for children in the age group of 3-5 years, 70 percent target was achieved.