The Centre on Thursday refuted reports of shortage of polio vaccines in the country, saying such a claim was “completely incorrect”.
“There is no shortage of oral polio vaccines (OPV) and inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) in the country,” the Union health ministry said in an official statement.
As far as the issue of postponement of the polio National Immunisation Day (NID) campaign for an indefinite period was concerned, the ministry said the required quantity of bivalent oral polio vaccine (bOPV) has already been secured for the programme and the campaign will be held soon.
“To ensure availability of safe and quality vaccine for our children during NID, the testing of bOPV has been made more stringent and the same will be dispatched to states for public use after the clearance from National Testing Laboratory for each batch. Polio NID will be held soon,” the statement stated.
Regarding inactivated polio vaccine (IPV), there is neither shortage of IPV nor any shortage of funds for its procurement for Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP) in the country, the statement read.
It may 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.
The ministry further said that confronted with a steep hike in prices of IPV, India approached Gavi, the vaccine alliance for partial support for further procurement, as India is also a Gavi-eligible country. An agreement has been reached with the Gavi Board.