H1N1 vaccine Naso-Vac stocks start to run out from marketNews — By The Desk on August 11, 2010 at 11:59 AM
Indian Express: With the toll due to swine flu since April touching 109, an increasing number of people are keen on getting immunised against the H1N1 virus. This has led to a shortage of the vaccine Naso-Vac in the market for the last four days. Serum Institute of India officials have assured that the supply would be restored in the next five days.
The initial reluctance towards getting vaccinated has diminished in the wake of increasing deaths. Mahendra Pitaliya, coordinator of the Pune district chemists association, said, “The vaccine is no longer freely available as it was in the last week.”
Dr Rajiv Dhere, Director of the Serum Institute of India said, “The vaccine is there. However, we need the nasal spray device and some syringes which are in short supply.” He added that the supply would be soon restored.
There was a strong demand for the vaccine from corporates and the vaccine will be available freely by August 17. The new batch will have an expiry date of November 10.
“The side effects of the vaccine are mild; apart from headache and fever there have been no extreme reactions,” said Dhere. Dr Sharad Agharkhedkar, Chief of the Pune unit of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) said that if the vaccine is given to nearly 70 per cent children between 3 and 10 years then the transmission of the virus can be stopped.
“Nearly 100 people with symptoms of swine flu are being given Tami flu,” Agharkhedkar said. There are a few side effects of the vaccine like sore throat, nasal congestion and body ache and of every 100 people who are vaccinated, 20-30 people complain of minor side effects, he pointed out.
In the Pimpri Chinchwad area, which has seen 51 deaths out of the total 109 from April this year, there has been an increase in demand for the vaccine. Dr R R Iyer, medical chief of the Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation said, “Only recently Niramay hospital has decided to give a dose of the swine flu vaccine at a cost of Rs 130 as against the private doctors who charged Rs 250 to Rs 300 for the vaccination.”
Some people are still wary of getting immunised at the mass vaccination camps being held in the city cooperative housing societies and some schools. Agharkhedkar advised safety precautions such as an ambulance on standby at societies and an expert team of medical doctors in case there are any side-effects. “We cannot be complacent as one bad episode can be counter-productive,” said Agharkhedkar.
Dr R R Pardeshi, Chief Medical Officer at the Pune Municipal Corporation said that 43 screening centres in the city have been activated to screen people and the Naidu hospital functions as a sentinnel centre. “Out of the staff of 950 people including doctors and para-medical staff at least 575 have received the injectible vaccine,” Pardeshi said.
However, all the doctors said that the vaccine has to be taken under the supervision of experts. Barring a few stray cases, the vaccine mostly provides safety against the virus, confirmed officials at the National Institute of Virology (NIV).