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Shortage of polio vaccines leads to cancellation of nation-wide vaccination

India administers two kinds of polio vaccines to children, first is the inactive polio vaccine (IPV) and the other is the bio-oral polio vaccine (bOPV) which contains live viruses to provide immunity

Govt allays concerns on polio; says India remains polio-free

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BS Web Team New Delhi

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The Union government will not be conducting its nationwide Polio Immunisation drive this year due to a dearth of vaccines, reported ThePrint.

According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the government organises one National Immunisation Day (NID) and two Sub-National Immunisation Days (SNID) every year to maintain population immunity against wild poliovirus and to sustain its polio-free status. During these drives, bio-oral polio vaccines (bOPV) are administered to children aged 5 years and less.

However, ThePrint report said that because of the shortage of vaccines, only the two SNIDs will be conducted and the NID will not be organised this year. 

For this, the Centre has identified 200 districts that are at high-risk to focus on during SNIDs. These districts are located across 13 states and Union Territories, the report said.

The states of Assam, Bihar, Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Gujarat, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and West Bengal have been identified to conduct the SNIDs.

A spokesperson of the Union Health Ministry told ThePrint, "The first SNID is scheduled for May 28 and the second one is planned for September this year."

India administers two kinds of polio vaccines to children, first is the inactive polio vaccine (IPV) and the other is the bio-oral polio vaccine (bOPV) which contains live viruses to provide immunity against polio. Polio is a highly infectious disease that spreads through person-to-person contact and can intrude into a person's nervous system and cause paralysis according to the World Health Organisation.

India was declared polio-free in March 2014 and continues to hold that status. 

Regardless, it is considered crucial to conduct regular immunisation drives to maintain high population immunity against the disease. The vaccination drives assume greater significance in the wake of an outbreak of polio cases in two neighbouring countries, Pakistan and Afghanistan, ThePrint report said.

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First Published: May 24 2023 | 5:21 PM IST

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