150,000 Indian Children May Have Received Contaminated Polio Vaccines

Inactivated polio vaccine is now a requirement when visiting various countries

indian children eating

The World Health Organisation (WHO) said that there was ‘minimal risk of children contracting the polio virus in India’ from a tainted batch of vaccines, reported Reuters.   

The Indian Health Ministry has issued advisories to the three states to ensure that polio surveillance teams trace the children who have been given the contaminated vaccines. 

Some vials of the oral polio vaccines contaminated with the type-2 poliovirus were administered to children in Maharashtra and Telangana, besides Uttar Pradesh, Health Ministry officials confirmed.

New Delhi health officials said they were investigating why and how northern India-based Bio-Med Pvt Ltd, was still producing such vaccines, and that the affected lots were being recalled. 

Local media in India reported that police arrested the managing director of Bio-Med after routine testing revealed it had made and shipped some 150,000 lots of oral polio vaccines, that contained the type 2 polio vaccine virus. 

This strain of the polio virus that had been eradicated around the world and the Indian government had ordered this type of vaccine to be discontinued in 2016. 

Previously, batches of typhoid vaccines produced by Bio-Med were also found to be “not-of-standard quality”, according to a public notice by the Central Drug Standard Control Organisation, dated March 14, 2018. 

Shamila Sharma, a spokeswoman for the WHO, said ‘any risk to children was minimal due to the high routine polio immunization coverage in India.’ 

The Health Ministry, under its national immunization program, will also ensure that inactivated poliovirus (IPV) injections are being administered to every child in the three states so that no child is missed, the official said. 

IPV is produced from wild-type poliovirus strains of each serotype that have been inactivated (killed) with formalin. 

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In recent years, U.S. and European regulators have slammed many Indian drug factories for faulty manufacturing practices, often issuing warnings or bans, said Reuters.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), polio has been eliminated from the USA since 1979. 

Since 2000, the inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) is the only polio vaccine (4 doses) given to people in the USA, says the CDC. 

The IPV vaccination is now a requirement when visiting various countries around the world. 

Polio vaccination appointments can be easily scheduled at Vax-Before-Travel. 

And vaccine discounts can be found here.     

Vaccines, like any medicine, can have side effects. You are encouraged to report negative side effects of vaccines to the FDA or CDC.