Recently, few WhatsApp and Social Media messages created a panic in parents pan India. These messages were playing on the fears of parents by propagating misleading narrative.
NARRATIVE ON SOCIAL MEDIA:
Other messages like:
“Don’t give polio drops to children under 5 years”
News on TV ,says that tomorrow do not give polio dose for kids up to 5yrs as some virus has been found in them, and the owner of the company who manufactures it has been arrested by the police .
Inform everyone in family as well as those who have babies. Do not give oral polio .
— Dheeraj Gadikota (@Dheerajgadikota) October 4, 2018
Readers can also view the same tweet here: http://archive.is/hLLUb
Similar messages lead to people getting confused and fearful. The twitter users started distributing messages from various news media sources to respond on or counter these messages. Few of the messages are below:
Q: So are the children clearly out of risk of getting #polio?
A: Nope. Well know only in about another 5 to 6 months. Coz that's how long polio takes to show up.https://t.co/1unWP9yTuq
— Anoo Bhuyan (@AnooBhu) October 2, 2018
The Union Health Ministry has ordered an inquiry into the type-2 #polio #virus contamination detected in the vials used for immunisation in #UttarPradesh #Maharashtra and #Telangana and has ordered additional immunisation in three States. https://t.co/trDV9Q0KAQ
— The Hindu Science (@TheHinduScience) October 3, 2018
Screw everything else, the only thing we should be worried about right now is this. Polio virus inside the vaccine? I mean really ? Who ever is responsible for this is the real terrorist and should be hanged. #Polio #virus #leaked ? Bloody hell pic.twitter.com/B7KNkBr2QN
— Iqbal Khan (@Miqbalkhan) October 1, 2018
— Mirror Now (@MirrorNow) October 3, 2018
OUR FACT CHECK:
Fact Crescendo team did a fact check on this issue. We found the following:
The WhatsApp messages are playing on the fears of parents and spreading misleading statements about an actual event.
So, whats true? And what’s false?
- The Health Ministry has ordered a probe after traces of polio type 2 virus were found in some batches of oral polio vaccine (OPV) manufactured by a Ghaziabad-based pharmaceutical company, even as the firm’s managing director was arrested recently on Saturday.
- The authorities have also ordered scrutiny of oral polio vaccine samples from all domestic suppliers amid investigations into how one company released an OPV containing type-2 polio virus withdrawn globally in 2016 as it considered more risk than benefits. Polio type 2 virus strain has been eradicated worldwide, including in India.
- The Ministry of Health in its statement stated that after some sections of media reported about bivalent Oral Polio Vaccine supplied by a particular company being found ‘not of standard quality’, rumours are being spread that there is some sort of virus in the polio drops.
- The managing director of Biomed Pvt Ltd., which was supplying polio vaccines for only government-run immunisation programmes and not for private retail, was arrested after the Central Drug Regulator filed an FIR in this case.
- The Drugs Controller General of India has also asked the company to stop “manufacture, sale or distribution till further orders.” At least 50,000 vials are under the scanner.
- The vials that these polio vaccines come in are built with a safety mechanism. The top of the vaccine vial is usually of a different colour and if it has gone bad, the colour of the vial changes.
- Currently, OPV manufactured by companies other than Biomed and bought from normal retail outlets are perfectly safe for administration.
- Ministry of Health also gave statement that: “Type 2 polio vaccine virus traces which have been found in bOPV vials is the attenuated (weakened) poliovirus and does not cause paralysis and was also earlier used in tOPV till April 2016. The recipients of such vaccine will usually shed the vaccine virus through faecal route for about 4-6 weeks after which it will die down.”
So, as per Government of India, OPV are safe to administer.
X All polio drops vaccinations (OPV) are adulterated.
X All parents should stop giving their children OPV, especially those children who are below five years old
Our readers can also view the tweets from Ministry of Health official twitter handle:
HEALTH MINISTRY TWEET
— Ministry of Health (@MoHFW_INDIA) October 4, 2018
#Polio vaccines are absolutely safe & essential for every child’s well-being. Vaccines have saved millions of children from debilitating effects of polio since decades & will continue to do so. Parents must get their children vaccinated against polio#StayPolioFree #SwasthaBharat pic.twitter.com/hftpVLWa5V
— Ministry of Health (@MoHFW_INDIA) October 5, 2018
Twitter user, Dr. Jalam S Rathore, also tweeted the copy of the statement taken out by the Press Information Bureau, Government Of India.
Sharing this note for wide circulation in social media against the rumour of polio vaccine being unsafe . Requesting it to be circulate d widely in general public too to counter the rumour…#Polio pic.twitter.com/WQ6OG9BsWY
— Dr Jalam S Rathore (@drjsrathore) October 4, 2018
Our readers can read the original Press Information Bureau (GOI) statement here:
Also our readers can self-check the basis of this story by reading content from the links below & to better understand various stand points and get a broader perspective.
Fact Crescendo advises its readers to refrain from falling prey to unsubstantiated & misleading WhatsApp forwards. When in doubt, visit your nearest health centre, speak to your child’s paediatrician, check the Ministry of Health official website or twitter account or visit various fact checking websites online.