AGP opposes cervical cancer vaccination drive

June 27th, 2010 - 6:57 pm ICT by IANS  

Guwahati, June 27 (IANS) A major immunisation drive against cervical cancer in Assam has run into rough weather with the main opposition Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) questioning the validity of the vaccine and also whether the campaign was approved by health experts.
Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma earlier this week announced the government’s decision to vaccinate 100,000 girl students against cervical cancer at a whopping cost of Rs.600 million.

The minister claimed Assam is the first Indian state to launch the free vaccination drive against cervical cancer.

“We think the campaign is being done in haste. We need to know if any expert health committee has cleared or recommended the project being introduced,” senior AGP leader Bijon Mahajan told reporters.

“Moreover, since a large amount of public money is involved, we need to know if at all the vaccine will yield effective results,” he added.

Health experts, however, rejected the AGP’s apprehensions.

“Definitely the vaccine will serve the purpose. Let us not speculate or doubt the campaign as it was approved by the Food and Drug Administration, a body that promotes and protects public health through the regulation and supervision of vaccines, medical devices, and bio-pharmaceuticals,” Amal Kataky, Director of the B. Barooah Cancer Institute in Guwahati, said.

According to figures by the National Cancer Registry, Assam has the highest number of cervical cancer cases in the country.

“The need of the hour is to create awareness and not to set in fear and panic among people. Only after the experimental stage is over, any vaccine or medicines are marketed and so there is no need for concern,” Panchanan Das, a leading obstetrician, said.

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