Special Correspondent

Vaccination of girls not ‘clinical trial': D.Nagender

HYDERABAD: Health Minister D. Nagender said that a vaccine imported from Australia, which is being used in a pilot project to immunise adolescent girls against cancer of the cervix in parts of Khammam district, was not meant to be a ‘clinical trial'.

He told a press conference here on Thursday that the vaccination programme for girls in the age group of 10 to 14 in Thirumalaipalem, Kothagudem and Bhadrachalam blocks of Khammam district gave good results.

Drug found safe

Three doses of ‘Gardasil quadrivalent human pappilomavirus' were administered to 42,000 girls since July last to prevent and control cervical cancer.

Reports denied

Denying reports in a section of the press that three girls died on account of the vaccine,

Mr. Nagender said the deaths were a result of extraneous reasons and had nothing to do with the programme.

In fact, the drug was evaluated by several international agencies and found to be safe and effective.

Elaborating on the project overview which stated that the Indian Council of Medical Research and the State governments of Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat implemented operational research studies in collaboration with an NGO, PATH, while immunising girls, Commissioner of Family Welfare Anil C. Punetha denied that it was meant to be a clinical trial.

Feasibility

The research studies were taken up from the point of view of feasibility of the programme. The objective was to see how the programme could be upscaled elsewhere in the country.

The results of the pilot project would be examined by a national technical advisory team of the government to advice on further course of action.

Meanwhile, the State committee of Girijana Sangham, affiliated to CPI (M), has demanded a comprehensive inquiry into the death of the three girls, which, it alleged, was caused by failure of the vaccine.