Fact Check: Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) Contamination

Medical Social

Recently, few WhatsApp and Social Media messages created a panic in parents pan India. These messages were playing on the fears of parents by propagating misleading narrative.


Other messages like:

“Don’t give polio drops to children under 5 years”


Readers can also view the same tweet here: http://archive.is/hLLUb

Similar messages lead to people getting confused and fearful. The twitter users started distributing messages from various news media sources to respond on or counter these messages. Few of the messages are below:




Fact Crescendo team did a fact check on this issue. We found the following:

The WhatsApp messages are playing on the fears of parents and spreading misleading statements about an actual event.

So, whats true? And what’s false?


  • The Health Ministry has ordered a probe after traces of polio type 2 virus were found in some batches of oral polio vaccine (OPV) manufactured by a Ghaziabad-based pharmaceutical company, even as the firm’s managing director was arrested recently on Saturday.
  • The authorities have also ordered scrutiny of oral polio vaccine samples from all domestic suppliers amid investigations into how one company released an OPV containing type-2 polio virus withdrawn globally in 2016 as it considered more risk than benefits. Polio type 2 virus strain has been eradicated worldwide, including in India.
  • The Ministry of Health in its statement stated that after some sections of media reported about bivalent Oral Polio Vaccine supplied by a particular company being found ‘not of standard quality’, rumours are being spread that there is some sort of virus in the polio drops.
  • The managing director of Biomed Pvt Ltd., which was supplying polio vaccines for only government-run immunisation programmes and not for private retail, was arrested after the Central Drug Regulator filed an FIR in this case.
  • The Drugs Controller General of India has also asked the company to stop “manufacture, sale or distribution till further orders.” At least 50,000 vials are under the scanner.
  • The vials that these polio vaccines come in are built with a safety mechanism. The top of the vaccine vial is usually of a different colour and if it has gone bad, the colour of the vial changes.
  • Currently, OPV manufactured by companies other than Biomed and bought from normal retail outlets are perfectly safe for administration.
  • Ministry of Health  also gave statement that: “Type 2 polio vaccine virus traces which have been found in bOPV vials is the attenuated (weakened) poliovirus and does not cause paralysis and was also earlier used in tOPV till April 2016. The recipients of such vaccine will usually shed the vaccine virus through faecal route for about 4-6 weeks after which it will die down.”

So, as per Government of India, OPV are safe to administer.


 X  All polio drops vaccinations (OPV) are adulterated.

X  All parents should stop giving their children OPV, especially those children who are below five years old


 Our readers can also view the tweets from Ministry of Health official twitter handle:


Twitter user, Dr. Jalam S Rathore, also tweeted the copy of the statement taken out by the Press Information Bureau, Government Of India.

Our readers can read the original Press Information Bureau (GOI) statement here:


Also our readers can self-check the basis of this story by reading content from the links below & to better understand various stand points and get a broader perspective.

Few Links:


Uttar Pradesh recalls contaminated polio vaccine vials, FIR filed against manufacturer

Tainted polio drop found in oral vaccine supplied by Ghaziabad pharma firm, one held


Financial Express

Business Standard

The Hans India

Fact Crescendo advises its readers to refrain from falling prey to unsubstantiated & misleading WhatsApp forwards. When in doubt, visit your nearest health centre, speak to your child’s paediatrician, check the Ministry of Health official website or twitter account or visit various fact checking websites online.