NEW DELHI, JANUARY 25: Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare has postponed its Polio National Immunisation Day programme scheduled for February 3 without releasing a new date amid allegations of shortage of vaccines and funds.
The polio vaccination programme has been postponed after Bio-Med’s vaccines were found contaminated with type 2-poliovirus in September last year.
Pulse Polio initiative was started with an objective of achieving 100% coverage and aimed to immunise children under the age of 5. In a letter dated January 18, written to all States and UTs – barring Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Kerala, where the stocks are said to be sufficient – the Ministry noted: “Due to unavoidable circumstances, it has been decided to postpone the programme, the rescheduled date for the said activity will be communicated in due course.”
Meanwhile, the Ministry maintained that there is “no shortage of Oral Polio Vaccines (OPV) and Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV) in the country.”
“As far as polio NID is concerned, the required quantity of bivalent Oral Polio Vaccine (bOPV) has already been secured for the programme. However, to ensure availability of safe and quality vaccine to our children during NID, the testing of bOPV is made more stringent and the same will be dispatched to states for public use after the clearance from national testing laboratory for each batch and polio NID will be held soon,” the Ministry maintained.
It added that regarding IPV, there is neither any shortage of vaccines nor any shortage of funds for its procurement for Universal Immunisation Programme in the country.
“It is to be noted that India has eliminated polio already and as per global guidelines, introduced IPV in its Universal Immunisation Program to safeguard the polio free status, as there are few countries where polio virus is still circulating and polio is yet to be eliminated,” said the Ministry. (Courtesy: The Hindu)