Maharashtra: Shortage of swine flu vaccines, say doctors

Mumbai: The Maharashtra government has been left red-faced by one of its own employees, who has exposed the government’s preparedness to tackle the issue of swine flu.

A senior officer from state’s health department has claimed that there is a shortage of swine flu vaccine. However, the government has maintained that there is no such shortage. Dr Deepak Sawant, state health minister, said they are outsourcing the vaccine due to which there may be less number of the vaccine but no shortage.

“We also sanctioned a fund to all the state and civic-run hospitals for immediate purchase of vaccines in an emergency,” added Sawant. A senior health official said that the cases of swine flu are reduced in the state. But still, they get more than 10 fresh positive cases of H1N1 on daily basis.

According to state surveillance officer, there is a shortage of vaccines in the six districts, including rural and tribal area. “The districts like Aurangabad, Pune, Kolhapur, and Ahmednagar have a sufficient stock of swine flu vaccines. Meanwhile, we are managing to get vaccines from the civic authorities,” said, Dr Pradeep Awate.

The senior official further said all the authority for purchasing the swine flu vaccines is been given to the Haffkine Institute, Parel. “Earlier purchasing of vaccines were given to different departments. Now the new committee is being formed due to which it is getting delayed but vaccines will be purchased immediately as we get all the details,” said an official.

Sawant further stated that patients showing symptoms like high-grade fever, cold, runny nose, and diarrhoea should be given oseltamivir capsule, Tamiflu or Fluvir from day one of the infection. The preventive vaccine is given to vulnerable groups such as children below five years, patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, asthma patients, people with heart problems and diabetics.

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