New Delhi, Nov 12 (UNI) Terming CPI(M) leader Brinda Karat's charge of vaccine shortage as politically motivated, Union Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss today said a new state-of-the-art vaccine manufacturing unit in the public sector was being set up near Chennai.
Denying that there was a shortage of vaccines for the Universal Immunization Programme as charged by Ms Karat, Dr Ramadoss said her accusations were based on monthly supply requirement of vaccines while as per yearly supply there was no shortage.
He said even a team of 20 MLAs from West Bengal, headed by state Health Minister had met him recently regarding vaccines supply and gone satisfied.
According to Dr Ramadoss, the government had stopped vaccine manufacturing in three public sector units in Kasauli, as they were not GMP complaint. Despite spending Rs 60 crore during the five years to upgrade these institutions, which were over 100 years old, failed to upgrade their technology and manufacturing practices.
The government was forced to close them as the WHO had threatened that it would not procure vaccines and medicines manufactured in the country as they were not following basic Gross Manufacturing Norms, the Minister said.
He said if WHO had taken such a step it would have been loss of credibility for the country and moreover export of Rs 24000 crore worth of vaccines and medicines from India would have been jeopardised, he added.
''Moreover, rather than giving substandard vaccines to people I would rather not give them at all,'' the Minister said and added once they would improve their laboratories could be used and some serum manufactured.
He, however, admitted that due to the stopping of manufacturing initially there was some shortage of vaccines, which was supplemented from private sector but now the situation has improved and there was no shortage.
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