Master of Fake News! Shekar Gupta led “The Print” spreads fake news that there’s shortage of polio vaccine in India

On the eve of the 70th Republic Day celebration, the Indian government announced Bharat Ratna to Pranab Mukherjee, Nanaji Deshmukh and Bhupen Hazarika for their contributions in the field of nation building. But now a very strong demand is being made by the Indians to create a new award called “Fake Ratna” for the achievements in the field of fake news and they want the first version of it to be given to the fake news peddler Shekar Gupta’s The Print.

Shekar Gupta was recently slammed by the Minister of Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore for spreading fake news. Undeterred by this, Shekar Gupta’s website has once again peddled fake news, and this time about the so-called shortage of polio vaccine in the country.

“The Print” has peddled fake news with a title “India doesn’t have polio vaccine for the next round of immunisation”. Yes, this website claimed that “As India grapples with a shortage of polio vaccines, the Narendra Modi government has decided to postpone the polio national immunisation day campaign indefinitely”. At the time of writing this article, the fake news of The Print was shared over 22,000 times.

It also went on to say that it accessed a letter that was written by the central government that stated “Due to unavoidable circumstances, it has been decided to postpone the programme for the time being”. The website further said India is facing an acute shortage of both kinds of vaccines — OPV and IPV.

Soon this fake news was picked up by the hate-Modi brigade and it started to spread like a wildfire. Among the ones to share the story where the Congress leader Ahmed Patel and communal fake news peddler Jignesh Mevani.

Soon the “Ministry of Health and Family Welfare” issued a clarification titled “No shortage of polio vaccines in the country” and busted the fake news of Shekar Gupta’s The Print.

The press release of the ministry stated:

There have been some reports in the media regarding shortage of polio vaccine in India. This is completely incorrect. There is no shortage of Oral Polio Vaccines (OPV) and Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV) in the country.

As far as polio national immunization days (NID) is concerned, the required quantity of bivalent Oral Polio Vaccine (bOPV) has already been secured for the programme. However, to ensure availability of safe and quality vaccine to our children during NID, the testing of bOPV is made more stringent and the same will be dispatched to states for public use after the clearance from national testing laboratory for each batch and Polio NID will be held soon. Government has not postponed the NID indefinitely, as wrongly reported in the media.

Hansika Raj