ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Compensation to Victims of National Polio Eradication Programme

There is a case for compensation to victims of oral polio vaccine–induced polio disease on the lines of the United Kingdom government that announced compensation to patients who had contracted HIV or hepatitis due to tainted blood during the 1970s and 1980s.

The Indian Academy of Pediatrics appointed the author as Rajasthan state coordinator for polio eradication programme. He was appointed the observer on two occasions during pulse polio campaign by NPSP (National Polio Surveillance Project).

It was known even in 1988 that some children may develop polio disease despite taking oral polio vaccine (OPV) because of the vaccine failure, that is, vaccine failed to generate protective antibodies, and that some children may deve­lop polio disease caused by oral vaccine called vaccine–associated paralytic poliomyelitis (VAPP). No provision to provide compensation to these children was made. Since 2005, I have been raising this issue, but the government declined even to consider the compensation. In August 2022, there was news that the United Kingdom (UK) government would pay compensation to those people who had contracted human immunodeficiency viruses (HIV) or hepatitis disease from transfusion of tainted blood during the 1970s and 1980s (Aljazeera 2022). This kindled a ray of hope and I had again taken up the issue of compensation to the affected children during the polio eradication programme.

Legally, in the case of serious adverse reaction following vaccine administration, the manufacturer is liable to pay unless it is proved that the said vaccine was given to the wrong person, then the vaccine administerer or the concerned authority is liable to pay the damages. According to this criterion, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, should pay compensation to thousands of children who have developed disability by participating in the National Polio Eradication Programme started on 2 October 1995, because OPV had been given to many children who should not have been given this vaccine.

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Updated On : 4th Sep, 2023
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