Home » GENERAL » Is polio vaccine shortage a fake news?
File Photo: Then Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Dr. Harsh Vardhan administering the polio vaccine drops to children under-five years to mark the World Polio Day, in New Delhi on October 24, 2014. (PIB)

Is polio vaccine shortage a fake news?

Just 10 days before the country was to take up the pulse polio drive, fake news started appearing that there is a shortage of polio vaccine and the National Immunization Day scheduled for February 3 will be postponed.

While the message was slowly gaining readership on social media, online news publication “The Print” published a story on Thursday headlined, “India doesn’t have polio vaccine for the next round of immunisation.” Here’s a screen grab:

Print published a story on Jan 24, 2018 stating that there is a shortage of polio vaccine vials in the country, leading to outrage on social media (Screengrab)

Soon misinterpretations took several formats going to the extreme of saying the fiscal budget deficit this year may not afford enough polio vaccines for the country’s children. Maharashtra Congress has captioned it in large comparing it with other expenditure as below. Many have trolled the shortage of vaccines as seen below:


Other messages on Twitter tried to reason out the delay in Immunization drive due to the defective samples detected in the Ghaziabad unit of the supplying pharma company. Other’s came out in staunch support of the government’s efforts.

 

The issue was going viral online until the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare came out with a statement refuting the allegations and announcing categorically that the immunization drive will be held as per the schedule on February 3. “There is no shortage of Oral Polio Vaccines (OPV) and Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV) in the country,” the ministry said in a press release. (See the press release here)

The government has also said that the required quantity of bivalent Oral Polio Vaccine (bOPV) for the national immunization day has already been secured.

Last year, more than 17 crore children of less than five years across the country were given polio drops as part of the drive of Government of India to sustain polio eradication, on January 27. But this year, it has been delayed by one week.

The health ministry said the testing of polio vaccine bOPV is made more stringent this time and the procurement will be dispatched once the clearance from national testing laboratory for each batch is received.

India has been declared polio free in 2014 but the immunization program continues as per the World Health Organization’s guidelines. The last case of polio was reported in 2011.

About Gayathri Soora

Gayathri Soora has been a contributor to Digiteye.in and our Telugu edition Eedinijam.com with more than 9 years of experience as a reporter for Hyderabad-based online news websites. An avid observer of developments in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, she is our best bet for fact-checking news in Telugu. She can be reached at: gayathri@eedinijam.com or telugu@digiteye.in

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