The union health ministry has decided to cancel the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine, which is used for preventing cervical cancer among women, after the RSS-affiliate Swadeshi Jagran Manch wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting him not to introduce it in the country.
In a letter to PM Modi in December, SJM co-convener Ashwani Mahajan had requested the PM to stop the move to introduce the HPV vaccine in India. The letter had compared those behind the HPV vaccine with those who pervert science and bring ignominy to the scientific community alleging that they sell the country to vested interests.
"Swadeshi Jagran Manch requests you to stop this move to introduce the HPV vaccine in India and we recommend the strongest action against groups that pervert science, which brings ignominy to the scientific community in the country and sells the country to vested interests," the letter had said.
“It is our concern that this programme will divert scarce resources from more worthwhile health initiatives diverting it to this vaccine of doubtful utility and that its adverse effects will erode confidence in the national immunization programme and thereby expose children unnecessarily to the risk of more serious vaccine-preventable disease,” Mahajan had said, as quoted by the Financial Express.
The National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI) had earlier recommended HPV vaccination in India to prevent cervical cancer, which is the second most common cancer among women in India.
However, after the objection from the RSS-wing, according to a report by the Indian Express today, the union health ministry has taken a decision in principle not to introduce the vaccine.
“We are not going ahead with it now,” said a top ministry official, as quoted by the Indian Express without naming him.
The matter is still under consideration of the technical advisory body on immunization. But, the Express report, quoting highly placed sources in the ministry says that the vaccine will not become a part of UIP anytime soon regardless of what the NTAGI decides.