Several states in the country are facing a serious shortage of various vaccines used under Universal Immunisation programme after the closure of three government vaccine units, according to the Secretary of the Jharkhand state committee of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), J S Majumdar.
He said that his party has already written a letter to the Union health minister, Dr Ambumani Ramdoss about the acute shortage of vaccines showing the statistical data of shortage of vaccines in each state. Majumdar said that in the letter, the party has pointed out that against a requirement of 1.33 crore dosages of DPT vaccines in West Bengal, only 3 lakh dosages were supplied to the state till November last year. Besides the state experienced shortages of BCG, DT, Hepatitis-B, TT-PW and Measles vaccines.
Majumdar, said In Tripura, against a requirement of 3.8 lakh dosages of antigen, only 1.25 lakh dosages were supplied and there was no supply of DPT vaccines till last November.
In Orissa, he said, against the requirement of 56.79 lakh dosages of DPT vaccines, only 11 lakh were supplied. Similarly, against a requirement of 13.63 lakh dosages of measles vaccine, the state received only 4.5 lakh dosages and not a single dose of DT was supplied. In Uttar Pradesh the total requirement of Tetanus Toxoid vaccine for one year is 1.5 crore doses, but the state received only 10 lakh last year.
He said that there was a huge gap between the demand and supply of these vaccines. Only 15.31 per cent of the total requirement of the BCG Vaccines was supplied to Kerala and the quantity of DPT supplied was 40.53 per cent and DT, 88.42 per cent, he said.
The health minister while answering a question in the last session of the Lok Sabha admitted that the withdrawal of licenses to the three units had hit the availability of vaccines in the country, Majumdar pointed out. The production licenses of BCG Lab in Chennai, Pasteur Institute in Conoor and CRI in Kasauli were suspended in January last year on the order of DCGI for non-compliance of WHO norms.