A frenzy of messages has been spreading across social media and WhatsApp groups following news that a batch of polio vaccines was allegedly found to be contaminated. On Thursday, the Union Health Ministry took to Twitter to state that polio vaccines were safe to use after messages warned parents against administering the vaccines to their children following the reports.
Several health officials have come forward to dismiss the rumours doing rounds adding that parents should not stop children from being vaccinated against polio.
#Polio vaccines are absolutely safe & essential for every child’s well-being. Vaccines have saved millions of children from debilitating effects of polio since decades & will continue to do so. Parents must get their children vaccinated against polio#StayPolioFree #SwasthaBharat pic.twitter.com/hftpVLWa5V— Ministry of Health (@MoHFW_INDIA) October 5, 2018
TNM spoke to Karnataka State Health and Family Welfare Department Director S Pushparaj reassured the public saying the batch which was allegedly contaminated was not distributed in Karnataka.
“It was during a random inspection that it came to light that there may have been some contamination of the batch of vaccines which were dispatched from Ghaziabad to Uttar Pradesh and Telangana. While we had received a different batch of Biomed’s polio vaccines, none were administered and we sent them back just to be completely sure,” Pushparaj told TNM.
He added that Biomed, where the allegedly contaminated vaccines came from, is not the only supplier of the polio vaccine.
“Biomed is one company which the government had authorized to produce the polio vaccines, however, there are others also licensed to do so. Therefore, there will be no discrepancy in the availability of the vaccine. It is absolutely safe for people to continue vaccinations as per the immunization protocols.”
Tamil Nadu State Health Secretary, Dr Radhakrishnan too urged people not to believe in WhatsApp rumours, “Don’t believe in the messages which are scaring people not to administer polio vaccination to their children in the future.”
In the meantime, officials have ordered for a probe to be conducted to investigate why Biomed was still in possession of a strain of the virus which was supposed to have been destroyed in 2016 following the eradication of the type 2 strain of the virus worldwide.