Health Ministry has no vaccines for Haj pilgrims

The Health Ministry is grappling with a paucity of meningitis vaccines for Haj pilgrims as the only firm manufacturing them was asked to stop production last year after contamination was detected in its oral polio vaccines.

According to sources in the Health Ministry, the only compant that manufactured the vaccines and provided it to the government was asked to stop production of all human vaccines in September last year after type-2 polio virus contamination was detected in oral polio vaccines.

Following the ban on the Ghaziabad-based pharmaceutical company Biomed Pvt. Ltd, the Ministry is now looking for options to arrange the vaccines in time for the Haj pilgrims.

Around 1.27 lakh people are expected to go for the annual Haj in July this year for which the Ministry will have to arrange for at least 1.47 lakh doses.

Extra vaccines are kept as some are rendered ineffective in the process of delivery to the States.

Those going to Saudi Arabia for the purpose of Umra or pilgrimage are required to submit a certificate of vaccination with the quadrivalent (ACYW 135) vaccine against meningitis, proving the vaccine was administered no more than 3 years ago and no less than 10 days before arrival in the country.

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