The Centre has issued an advisory assuring parents of the safety of the oral polio vaccine and urging them to ensure that their children are given the dose. The Health Ministry’s statement came on Thursday after rumours that parents should refrain from giving their children the dosage on account of reports about a contaminated batch of the vaccine.

“Polio vaccines are absolutely safe and have saved millions of children from disabling effects of polio,” the Health Ministry’s statement said. The Centre added that it was now using vaccines, supplied by manufacturers who have adhered to all the recommended standards, under its Universal Immunization Programme.

“This rumour was spread in response to some reports in sections of media that bivalent Oral Polio Vaccine supplied by a particular company were found ‘not of standard quality’,” the ministry said. “Use of bivalent oral polio vaccine manufactured by this particular manufacturer has been stopped in the programme. All the stocks of the said manufacturer have been withdrawn.”

On October 1, the World Health Organization said the risk to children from some contaminated batches of the oral polio vaccine is minimal, Reuters reported. This is because of the high routine polio immunisation coverage in India, spokesperson Shamila Sharma said.

Last month, surveillance reports had shown signs of the polio type II virus in stool samples of some children in Uttar Pradesh. The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare then ordered an investigation into claims of the presence of the virus in some batches of the vaccine manufactured by a company in Ghaziabad.