icrn phw energy cse dte gobar times rwh csestore iep aaeti

Vaccine woes continue

1 Comments
Posted on: 12 Mar, 2012

For long, India’s vaccination programme had six vaccines for tuberculosis, diphtheria, pertussis, whooping cough, tetanus, polio and measles. The vaccines were cheap and protected children adequately. But in the last decade, the country has been under tremendous pressure from the pharmaceutical industry to include a variety of expensive vaccines in its immunisation programme.

   Related Articles
 
 

The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI), a public private partnership that represents the industry worldwide, promotes "underutilised" vaccines and provides support to buy these otherwise expensive vaccines. It is under this support that India now has Hepatitis B vaccine in its universal immunisation programme. Efforts are on to include Hib vaccine (against Haemophilus influenza B) and the HPV (against human papiloma virus) vaccine.

But the efficacy of these vaccines is questionable. Last year, Kerala which has the best indicators for health in India, decided to use the pentavalent vaccine in its immunisation programme. The vaccine is widely used in private sector and so far there has been no report of adverse effects. But when it was distributed free across the state, four children died. A case was filed in the Kerala High Court at Ernakulam by Human Rights Law Network, a non-profit, on behalf of a child’s parents. The health department of the state recently filed an affidavit in the case. It said the child died due to reaction to paracetamol given to control fever due to vaccination.

The affidavit also said that two of the children had died due to “co-morbidities” while parents of one child did not allow post-mortem examination. Public health experts against the inclusion of pentavalent vaccines in the immunisation programme ask what these co–morbidities were.

Rajeev Sadanandan, health secretary of the state, in an email reply to Down To Earth revealed, “One child was a tribal in general malnourished condition and the other had a cardiac situation. Both were susceptible to pneumonia and were recommended Hib as a prophylactic (preventive) measure. They would have had to buy the vaccine from the market otherwise.”

This suggests that the vaccine should not be given to malnourished children or those who have a heart problem. But nearly half of the children in India are undernourished. Should we then, really consider including pentavalent vaccine in the universal immunisation programme? What will happen if the vaccine is given to the undernourished children in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar?
 
Sadanandan adds that it is surprising that the petitioners are asking that the pentavalent vaccine be stopped in the government sector where it is given free and not in private sector from where huge amounts are collected. The answer to this is that parents who can afford the vaccine would also ensure that the child is adequately nourished. Each dose costs Rs 2,000 and three doses are needed.

The affidavit also mentions that Goa has been using the pentavalent vaccine in the immunisation programme for years now. Once again, Goa is a rich state and has the highest per capita income in the country.
 
It would be better if the pilot projects to check whether the vaccine should be included in the immunisation programme are carried out in poor states like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
 

 

AddThis

A similar case in point is the affect of the vaccine 'pandemrix' used for preventing swine flu on kids in Finland.... they are now suffering from narcolepsy.

Hope this is a wake up call for all... people must unite to ward off the ulterior motives of the pharma-lobby...who are hell bent on pushing their half cooked drugs on us.

14 March 2012
Posted by
Romy Kumar

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.


(Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.)

Sign in to post

Contributors

Manager of Médecins Sans Frontières's Access Campaign in India
Gujarat-based environment activist
Consultant, CSE
Independent researcher working on poverty, public public policy and governance
Researcher with the Centre for Equity Studies in New Delhi
South Asia Program Director at International Rivers
Policy Director at International Rivers
Independent Weather Forecaster, METD WEATHER
National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians and former UN water expert
Project Officer, International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)
Programme Director, CSE
works with Shola Trust, a non-profit involved in nature conservation in the Nilgiri region of South India
Trustee, Save Animals Initiative Sanctuary Trust, Karnataka
Vice-president
Activist and researcher
Activist and researcher
Programme director (HealthBridge Foundation of Canada)
Programme Director, CSE
Professor, NIUA
Earth system scientist
Consultant, Social Sector
Researcher
Journalist
Food and nutrition consultant
Assistant Professor, IG Medical College, Shimla
Associate Professor of Environmental Sociology at the University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire, USA
Visiting professor of economics at Mount Holyoke College, USA
Former Deputy Director at the National Institute of Nutrition Hyderabad
Works with indigenous groups in the Nilgiris and writes about dalits and other marginalised communities
Convenor and Head of Jiye Yamuna Abhiyan
Managing Trustee, Wildlife First
Fellow and Convenor, Centre for Environment and Development Studies
Associate Professor, Ambedkar University
Shuba V Raghavan is an independent energy policy analyst
Professor and Dean, Faculty of Planning, CEPT University
Senior reporter, Down To Earth
Reporter, Down To Earth
Research Associate, CSE
Co-director, Anthra
Director, Research Centre for Internet and Society
Programme Officer, Right to Clean Air Campaign (CSE)
Research Associate, Green Rating Project (CSE)
Research Associate
Heads the Division of Policy Planning, and Training & Capacity Development at India's National Institute of Disaster Management at IIPA campus in New Delhi
DG, Amity Institute for Herbal and Biotech Products Development
Associate Global Co-ordinator of the Peoples Health
Senior Fellow with SOPPECOM, Pune
Principal Scientist with NISTADS, New Delhi
Co-founder, Nature Conservation Foundation
Assistant Professor, IISc
Science communicator with Vigyan Prasar, New Delhi
Chief Copy Editor, Down To Earth
Reporter, Down To Earth
Programme Director, CSE
Wildlife biologist
Senior Editor, Down To Earth
Deputy Programme Manager, CSE
News Editor, Down To Earth
Science Editor, Down To Earth
Senior Editor, Down To Earth
Secretary with Vikas Samvad Human Development and Food Rights Resource Center
Deputy Director General, CSE
Features Editor, Down To Earth
Editor, Down To Earth
CSE WEBNET
Follow us ON
Follow grebbo on Twitter    Google Plus  DTE Youtube  rss