Raising concerns at the introduction of pentavalent vaccine in the universal immunisation programme in Tamil Nadu on a pilot basis, Makkal Nalavazhvu Iyakkam (MNI), Tamil Nadu chapter of Jan Swasthya Abhiyan, has urged the Centre to reconsider its decision and asked the State government to put the introduction of the new vaccine on hold.
In a statement issued here on Thursday, the MNI said that mere technological solutions without the corresponding/supporting socio-economic-political interventions could not lead to health for all. Medical technology should be under “social control.”
Its introduction, provisioning, monitoring and evaluation needed to be done with people's welfare as the top-most priority and not corporate or political pressure, it said.
“We observe hands of global corporations and agencies such as Global Alliance for Vaccine Initiative (GAVI) behind this introduction of pentavalent vaccine into the Universal Immunisation program of India in order to gain huge profit for their vaccine production companies. The international vaccine production companies are deliberately looking for markets to sell many vaccines on a large scale and India's UIP is a huge potential market and through all measures, they have convinced the Union government. Hence, we demand the governments not to succumb into international agencies' pressure and give importance to local realities,” it said.
After a long struggle by people's movements and progressive scientists, public vaccine production units (BCG lab in Guindy, Pasteur Institute at Coonoor and Central Research Laboratory in Kasoli) were reopened last year and these units were struggling to supply vaccines to government thanks to lack of support for revamping and upgrading them. “These units are not equipped to produce pentavalent vaccines, so the government has to procure vaccine from private companies and we fear introducing pentavalent at this juncture will permanently affect these public sector companies, which were once the pride of India,” the MNI said.