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Andhra Pradesh - Visakhapatnam Printer Friendly Page   Send this Article to a Friend

`Oral polio vaccine safe'

By Our Staff Reporter

VISAKHAPATNAM, SEPT. 1 . "The oral polio vaccine (OPV) administered to children as part of the Pulse Polio Immunisation campaign is safe and has no side- effects. It is only due to mass campaigns administering OPV that polio cases have been brought down considerably," the District Immunization Officer, J. Sarojini, told a press conference here on Wednesday.

Ms. Sarojini, with the president of the district unit of the Indian Association of Paediatrics, K. Rajeswara Rao, and the Surveillance Medical Officer of National Polio Surveillance Programme, B.P. Subrahmanyam, was clarifying issues raised by the People's War Andhra-Orissa Special Zonal Committee.

The intensive Pulse Polio campaign taken up since 1995 had resulted in a massive reduction in polio cases, she said. From 1,934 cases reported from across country in 1998, the incidence had come down to 225 in 2003.

Vaccine monitor

Dr. Sarojini said each of the vaccines had a vaccine viol monitor (VVM) by which the condition of the vaccine could be determined for use. "The Regional Training Centre here has a walk-in cooler for storage of vaccine and insulated vaccine carrier vehicles for transportation. Every primary health centre is equipped with an ice-lined refrigerator and deep-freezer. The cold chain is effective," she said, adding that if the temperature rose, the vaccine's efficacy would be reduced but it would not have any side-effects.

Other vaccine costly

The other kind of vaccine, administered through an injection, was expensive and not available, she said, adding that the oral drops were manufactured by Indian companies in collaboration with the WHO.

Dr. Subrahmanyam said oral drops were used in mass campaigns even in advanced countries. Only after eradication did they switch over to injectible vaccines. It was important to increase intestinal resistance to prevent polio and hence oral drops were effective, he said.

Dr. Rajeswara Rao said that the triple vaccine administered for DPT had no relation to polio drops though the schedule was the same.

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