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India Not Affected By Global Shortage Of Polio Vaccine: Government

NEW DELHI: The global shortage of inactivated polio vaccine (IPV), caused due to failure of WHO to scale up its supply, has not affected India, the Centre said on Friday as it dismissed reports of short-supply of the vaccine to states under its immunisation programme.

Health Minister J P Nadda in a written reply in Lok Sabha said to check shortage and augment domestic production of IPV, his ministry has supported public sector manufacturers for technology transfer for the vaccine from the World health Organisation (WHO).

“WHO and partners were to enhance global supplies of IPV but the global production of IPV could not be scaled up resulting in global shortage of IPV. However, this reduced supply to government at present has not resulted in shortage of IPV to states and UTs under the Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP),” he said.

“As per provisional reports, till June 2016, a total of 95,94,225 doses of IPV have been supplied to the states and UTs which is more than the total children vaccinated so far i.e 61,25,971, which indicates that there is no shortage of IPV,” he added.

According to some reports, a few states were grappled with shortage of IPV.

As part of the WHO Polio Eradication and Polio Endgame strategic plan 2013-2017, the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE), the world’s chief policy guidance body on immunisation, in 2012 recommended the withdrawal of type 2 component of oral polio vaccine (OPV) from routine immunisation programmes in all countries, facilitated by the introduction of at least one doze of IPV.

“Accordingly, 106 countries, including India, introduced IPV,” Mr Nadda said.

He said that to check the shortage, various steps have been taken which include providing IPV on a monthly basis to states based on their performance report, usage of multi-dose IPV vaccine vial once open for subsequent sessions as per guidelines to minimise wastage without compromising safety, among others.

“The ministry has supported public sector manufacturer for technology transfer of IPVs based on the Sabin strains from WHO. This will further augment domestic production in the future resulting in more production of IPV at affordable prices,” Mr Nadda said.