Friday, November 17, 2017

Gujarat govt "supplied" expired, about-to-expire polio vaccines: Rajkot health official wrote warning letters

By Our Representative
In a shocking disclosure, many of the vaccines injected to children in Gujarat have either been found to be expired, or are in the last stage of expiry, with district health officials, conducting vaccine programme and distributing vaccines to local health centres, writing two letters to the Gujarat government about this.
The district health establishment of Rajkot, from where Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani hails, in one of the written complaints to the state health department, said, “The IPV (or Injectable Polio Vaccine, with the brand name Imovax Palio, manufactured by Sanofi Pasteur, a French drug company) vaccine that we have got on September 16, 2017 is of extremely poor status.”
The letter underlines, “It is on the last VVM stage. There is full possibility that, if we send the vaccines to other district and taluka level, by the time it reaches the actual beneficiaries, it will expire. Because of the expiry and last stage of vaccine, this is dangerous”.
One of the two Rajkot letters
VVM stands for Vaccine Vial Monitor, which has a colour coding, which changes when it is to expire or is towards the expiry stage. The IPV vaccine has to be kept in special conditions between 2 and 8 degrees C temperature. If the vaccine is exposed to higher temperatures, it expires and falls under non-usable category.
The local health officials of Rajkot further revealed that that 18,000 vaccines of batch number M 1358 1, with the written expiry date of May 2018, were received by them when these were in the last expiry stage because temperatures were not being maintained properly when they were dispatched. 
Health officials of Kutch and Morbi have also made similar complaints.
Revealing this, Congress’ national spokesperson Shaktisinh Gohil told newspersons in Ahmedabad, “It is criminal on part of Gujarat government to administer last stage or expired polio vaccine to people of Gujarat.”
He alleged, “In a scary and disgusting decision, even after the warning, the state government said these vaccines could be administered. The BJP government has played dirty with the parents and children who have used this vaccine.”
Gohil wondered why the polio vaccines were not destroyed even after the district health officials clearly said they were in last stage, and possibly they had expired, when they actually reach the beneficiary despite clear communication in writing.
Shaktisinh Gohil
“What was the condition of the polio vaccines when they came to Gujarat? What was their VVM status?”, he asked, even as demanding that the French drug company Sanofi Pasteur should come up with a clarification about the status of vaccines it sent to Gujarat.
He further insisted that the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Unicef “should institute an inquiry, taking serious cognizance all the written communications that the district health officials have sent to senior officers.”
The revelation is significant, as India was declared polio free in May 2014, 19 years after it embarked on the programme to eradicate the disease. Two India’s neighbours, Pakistan and Afghanisation, however, remain polio endemic.

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