A wing of RSS has asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi not to introduce Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine in the country. Notably, the HPV vaccine is used for preventing cervical cancer among women. The RSS-affiliate Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM) has written a letter to PM Modi. SJM co-convener Ashwani Mahajan said in the letter that the introduction of HPV vaccine would be an “unmitigated tragedy”. This come even as the country’s highest decision making body on vaccines set to take a call in its next meeting on the introduction of cervical cancer vaccine in the Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP). In a letter to the Prime Minister, Swadeshi Jagran Manch’s (SJM) national co-convener Ashwani Mahajan has 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.”
“Swadeshi Jagran Manch requests you to stop this move to introduce Human Papilloma Virus (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 added.
It has been leartnt that National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI) sub- group has recommended the introduction of HPV in UIP. The recommendation was to be taken up in a meeting of NTAGI on December 6. However, the meeting was postponed as it clashed with another meeting in the PMO, but reports said that Health Ministry whenever NTAGI meets next, it will take up the matter. HPV is associated with more than 80 per cent cervical cancers. Data from the national cancer registry shows that in 2013, 92,731 cases of cervical cancer were reported in India, a figure that is projected to go up to 1,00,479 in 2020.
The letter also states that the vaccine is very expensive and studies in other countries have proved that it was not cost-effective. SJM alleged that authors from PGI Chandigarh falsified science published by others in an attempt to show that $14/child for the vaccine is cost-effective. While NTAGI has not approved it yet, Punjab, ruled by the Opposition Congress has introduced it, said SJM. Mahajan said some big pharma firms have managed to introduce the vaccine in Punjab although it does not have the approval of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI).