After Uttar Pradesh, the governments of West Bengal and Tamil Nadu have complained to the Centre that the stocks of Japanese Encephalitis (JE) vaccines sent to them recently was not usable. The serum has lost its efficacy because of exposure to heat.
Following this, the proposed JE vaccination drive, which was to be undertaken as part of routine immunisation in 38 districts across 10 states, has been put on hold.
The Centre has now ordered an inspection into its Karnal-based Government Medical Store Depot (GMSD), the main storage house of such vaccines. Experts are likely to visit the GMSD on Saturday. �We have received some complaints and will conduct inspections in Chennai and Kolkata, like we did in Uttar Pradesh. We will inspect the stock of vaccines kept at Karnal and decide the future course of action,� said Dr S D Khaparde, Deputy Commissioner, Infectious Disease, Government of India.
The vaccines that have been sent to West Bengal and Tamil Nadu had reached stage III and IV of damage, which renders them not usable. Vaccines can be used only if the exposure is up to stage II. The damage can be seen by the change in the colour of a heat-sensitive sticker pasted on the vaccines.
On September 12, the Bengal government had written to Naresh Goyal, Assistant Commissioner for Universal Immunisation Programme, Government of India, about the vaccines. The letter stated that 1,44,845 doses of vaccines that the state had received on that day were in stage III of exposure. Only a day before, Director of Public Health and Preventive Medicine in Chennai had written to Goyal that the stock of 85,700 vaccines received from Karnal�s GMSD, was found in stage III and IV of exposure.
Kaparde said the vaccines supplied to Tamil Nadu and Bengal were not from the same batch as that of Uttar Pradesh, which had received more than 4.5 lakh defective vaccines last week.
After the Uttar Pradesh government�s complaint, a team of Central officials had visited Lucknow, inspected the stock and said the vaccines were still in stage II and therefore, usable. The UP government, however, refused to buy this. �Whatever they have to say, they should inform us in writing. As of now, we want fresh stocks,� said Dr M L Khatloiya, Director General, state Family Welfare department.
This particular batch of JE vaccines to UP, Bengal and Tamil Nadu was dispatched on September 10.
The Karnal GMSD receives the vaccine from China. While the Kolkata GMSD caters to the northeastern states, Chennai GMSD caters to the southern states.
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