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Even the Modi government vaccinated over 17 crore children with the Polio vaccine in a single day

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In the wake of a record-breaking vaccination drive wherein a total of over 88 lakh COVID-19 vaccine doses were administered in a single day throughout the country, a post comparing this feat of COVID-19 vaccination during PM Modi’s tenure with that of 17 crore children getting immunized with pulse polio vaccine in a single day during Manmohan Singh’s tenure as PM is being widely shared across social media platforms. Through this fact-check article, let’s get to the lowdown into this comparison.

Claim: Comparison of single-day COVID-19 vaccination in Modi’s tenure with that of Pulse Polio vaccination during Manmohan Singh’s tenure.

Fact: While it is true that there are few instances during Manmohan Singh’s tenure as PM where the government had administered over 17 crore children with the Polio vaccine, this is not limited to Manmohan Singh’s tenure. Even during Modi’s tenure as PM, there have been few instances where the total number of children getting vaccinated with Polio vaccine exceeded 17 crores. Hence the claim made in the post is MISLEADING.

Government of India introduced polio vaccine under Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI, 1978), and subsequently in Universal Immunization Programme (UIP, 1985). However, following the commitment to the resolution passed by World Health Assembly for global Polio eradication in 1988, Pulse Polio Immunization Programme was launched in India in 1995.

Accordingly, a special Polio vaccine campaign called the ‘National Immunization Days’ (NIDs) commonly known as ‘Pulse Polio Immunization programme’ are held across India twice a year. On each of the two days, the Government of India sets out to give two drops of oral polio vaccine (OPV) to every child in the country under the age of five and Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV) to children less than one year of age. Additionally several Sub-National Immunization Days (SNIDs) are also held annually in the highest-risk states/areas. The campaign is implemented with the help of state governments.

Since 1995, administering of Polio vaccine through conducting special Polio campaigns had been a continuous process irrespective of the party in power. As per the data available on National Health Mission (NHM) website regarding the administration of Polio vaccines through these special vaccine campaigns from 2001-02 to 2014-15, there are few instances between 2005-10 during Manmohan Singh’s tenure as PM where the total number of children getting vaccinated in a single day (NID)  exceeded 17 crores.

However, this is not limited to just Manmohan Singh’s tenure as PM, even during Modi’s tenure as PM, the government had administered more than 17 crores children with Polio vaccine in a single day (NID). As per the annual reports of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, there are few instances between 2014-2021 where the total number of children getting vaccinated with Polio vaccine in a single day exceeded over 17 crores. These reports can be read here , here, and here.

Also comparing Polio vaccination rate with that of COVID-19 wouldn’t be the right thing as Polio vaccines are developed much earlier and are readily available, which is not the case with the COVID-19 vaccine. Further, availability of storage and transport logistics facilities for the Polio vaccine makes it easier to administer compared to the COVID-19 vaccine.

To sum it up, 17 crore children were vaccinated over in a single day with the Polio vaccine even during Narendra Modi’s tenure as PM, not just during Manmohan Singh’s tenure as PM.

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