UP government recalls polio vaccines, Centre says nothing to fear

The Uttar Pradesh government recalled an entire batch of polio vaccines manufactured by a Ghaziabad-based firm and supplied under routine immunisation programme, after a health ministry team found that the vaccine had been contaminated with type-2 polio virus strain.

We have recalled all the vials of B100318 batch. These vials were supplied for routine immunisation programme, particularly in east UP districts like Varanasi, Allahabad, Mirzapur and Mau. An FIR has been lodged against the company Biomed as the P2 virus should not have been present in the bivalent oral polio vaccine (bOPV),” said Neena Gupta, director general, family welfare, Uttar Pradesh.

In the past few months, presence of P2 was noted in several stool samples which was unusual as neither the strain is prevalent in the country nor the vaccine being administered contains its vaccine,” a health officer said. 

Since the withdrawal of oral polio vaccine containing type-2 polio virus globally in April 2016, the bivalent OPV containing type-1 and 3 viruses are being used. Polio vaccines can either be bivalent (for type 1 and 3) or trivalent (type 1, 2 and 3). The trivalent OPV was used only till April 2016. The last type 2 wild polio virus case in India was detected in 1999 as per the records.

India continues to be polio-free for more than 7 years now. India was certified polio-free in March 2014. Since polio cases are still occurring in a few neighbouring countries, as a risk mitigating measure India needs to maintain population immunity against polio.

The type-2 virus is the weakest of the three and this is not a health risk for our children, neither does it derail India’s polio programme,” said Dr NK Arora, chairman of the National Certification Committee for Polio Eradication while putting to rest fears of parents.

The World Health Organisation has in a statement said, while this is a regulatory breach and something the government must get to the bottom of, the presence of type-2 virus does not pose a health risk to any child who has been administered with the vaccine.

Abha Boyal

Abha has taste of years in journalism and writing. She is known to elaborate her findings in a vibrant way. With writing as her incredible skill, Abha also enjoys exploring new places. She stays focused on whatever she does and this makes her an all rounder.

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