Brinda Karat protests HPV vaccination drive in AP

New Delhi: Protesting against an HPV vaccination drive by an NGO in Andhra Pradesh, CPI(M) polit bureau member Brinda Karat has said it is a "worst practice" programme that raises many questions.

Karat claimed that mainly tribal girls in the age bracket of 10 to 14 years were being vaccinated by an NGO in several districts of Andhra Pradesh with the approval of the Andhra Pradesh Government and the Indian Council of Medical Research.

"I am writting to register my strong protest against this programme which is an example of a worst practice programme which raises many questions," she said in a letter to Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad.

"The matter gains urgency because of the deaths of four tribal girls who were vaccinated. There are also reports of fairly widespread side effects that the other girls who have been administered the vaccine are suffering from," she said.

Observing that such a programme cannot and should not take place outside the public health system, Karat said the entire programme calls into question the lack of precautions and lack of monitoring of those who had been administerd the vaccine.

Giving details of the programme, Karat said, the HPV vaccination programme was started in Khammam District on August 19, 2009.