15 January, 2021

Immune To Ethics

The Centre may be saddled with 43 million unfit polio vaccines

Immune To Ethics

IN an appalling triumph of pelf and politics over probity, the Mumbai high court may have sentenced 43 million children to the risk of polio. On August 19, the court ordered the Union government to purchase 43 million potentially unfit oral polio vaccines from Haffkine Bio-pharmaceutical Corporation Ltd, a Maharashtra government undertaking, for this year's Pulse Polio Immunisation Programme. It also cautioned the government against encouraging private sector in areas involving public health care. While there has been no response from the ministry yet, an official said it might take the matter to the Supreme Court.

There are three reasons why Haffkine's vaccines may fail against the polio virus. First, the central government norm is not to purchase any vaccine that has completed more than one-sixth of its life. The Haffkine lot is already more than a year old—four months over the required norm. Also, by the time they're administered in December and January, the vaccines may have turned effete since they're essentially weakened 'live' viruses...



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