The Centre on Thursday denied media reports which said that there is a shortage of polio vaccines in the country. It said the Centre has already procured the required quantity of oral polio vaccine for the National Immunisation Day.
The Narendra Modi-led government has decided to indefinitely postpone the polio National Immunisation Day campaign, owing to a paucity of vaccines, The Print had reported earlier in the day. The campaign was to be held on February 3.
“There is no shortage of oral polio vaccines and inactivated polio vaccines in the country,” the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said in a press release, describing the media reports as “totally incorrect”. “The government has not postponed the National Immunisation Day indefinitely, as wrongly reported in the media.”
The ministry said that testing of the Oral Polio Vaccine has been made more stringent, and the vaccine will be dispatched to states after the national testing laboratory clears each batch. It added that the National Immunisation Day “will be held soon”.
The health ministry, however, acknowledged that there had been a steep rise in the prices of the Inactivated Polio Vaccine, following which the Centre approached Gavi – an international organisation that supports immunisation in poor countries – to supply it.
On January 18, the health ministry wrote to all states except Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Kerala, informing them that the campaign has been postponed. The three states possess the requisite stocks of the vaccine.