Anita Joshua

Permit units to resume production, Brinda Karat urges Anbumani

UIP severely compromised because of Centre’s failure to provide vaccines

It appears DPT, DT programmes have been virtually scrapped in some States

NEW DELHI: Communist Party of India (Marxist) Polit Bureau member Brinda Karat on Tuesday urged Union Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss to permit the Pasteur Institute, Coonoor; the BCG Laboratory, Chennai, and the Central Research Institute, Kasauli, to resume production of vaccines to meet the shortage in DPT and DT vaccines.

In a letter to the Minister, Ms. Karat sought to draw his attention to the severe shortage impacting the Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP) in various States including the three governed by the CPI(M).

Till October 27, West Bengal alone reported a shortage of 68.69 per cent in TT-PW vaccine, 12.45 per cent in BCG vaccine, 88.49 per cent in DPT vaccine, 63.64 per cent in hepatitis B vaccine, 43.88 per cent in measles vaccine and 99.75 per cent in DT vaccine. Though DPT doses were sent to the State earlier this month, the shortage, she said, continued to be severe.

In Tripura – as against the annual requirement of 3.80 lakh doses of the six antigens – only 1.25 lakh doses had been received till October-end. The State did not get a single dose of DPT till October 31. Kerala has reported a shortage of 15.31 per cent in BCG vaccine, 40.53 per cent in DPT vaccine and 88.42 per cent in DT vaccine.

Orissa, too, has reported similar levels of shortage. In DPT vaccine, the shortage is 80.63 per cent and in measles vaccine, 66.98 per cent. And, not a single dose of DT has been provided to the State.

Ms. Karat noted: “Clearly, the stoppage of production in these units is one of the reasons for the present severe shortage, particularly in DPT and DT.” The UIP was severely compromised because of the Centre’s failure to provide the required vaccines. “It would also appear that the DPT and DT programmes are virtually scrapped at least in these States.”

Discrepancy in claim

With these details, the Rajya Sabha member has sought to point out the discrepancies in the speech made by Dr. Ramadoss in the House, during a discussion on The Drugs & Cosmetics (Amendment) Bill, that there were only a couple of instances of shortage in vaccines.