Govt puts cervical cancer vaccination trial on hold

Govt puts cervical cancer vaccination trial on hold

Govt puts cervical cancer vaccination trial on hold

Three-member committee told to submit report by June 2010.

The panel headed by Ranjit Roy Chaudhury, a former emeritus scientist at the National Institute of Immunology, here would submit its report within two months, Union health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad informed the Rajya Sabha on Thursday.

The committee was set up last week following sharp protests from women activists including CPM MP Brinda Karat. Other panel members are S P Agarwal, former director general of health services and Sunita Mittal, head of gynaecology at the AIIMS here.
The panel will probe the link between deaths and vaccination if there are any. Also, it will probe allegations of violation of ethical norms.

The vaccine is to protect girls from human papilloma virus, one of the important causative agents of cervical cancer.

The objective of the trial was to build evidence-based vaccine delivery strategy for future introduction of HPV in the universal immunisation programme. But it is now mired in controversy following charges of misconduct on the part of the investigators.

The unethical practices include subjecting children of marginalised populations (STs) to vaccine studies and many young girls were vaccinated without the consent of their parents. The trial was conducted by US-based NGO together with AP and Gujarat governments in collaboration with Indian Council of Medical Research.

Of the 1,4091 girls vaccinated in Andhra Pradesh four died. And in Gujarat, 10,686 girls were vaccinated and two died.