At a time, when swine flu has claimed many a life both in Indore and Bhopal, doctors have suggested preventive measures to contain the deadly virus. Ironically, even though vaccination is available in the state, few people know about it. The cost of the vaccine ranges between Rs 500 and Rs 800 each and is effective for one year.
Earlier, it was administered to swine flu-prone people like diabetic people, pregnant women, children under five years of age, asthma patients etc. but it has of late become popular among the youngsters in the capital, say doctors.
However, doctors don't seem to suggest vaccination as the first preventive measure because questions have been raised over its efficacy as strain of H1N1 virus causing swine flu keeps varying and every year a new vaccine is introduced with a new strain of virus.
When contacted eminent pulmonologist Dr PN Agarwal said, "According to studies, the efficacy of swine flu vaccine is 52-80%. The study also states that 5% people can face some nominal side-effects also like fever, reddishness at the spot where vaccine was injected etc. As its efficacy is less, sometimes a person gets affected with swine flu despite immunisation but the infection is less severe as compared to unimmunised person."
Dr Agarwal said he prefers to administer vaccine to all elderly patients undergoing treatment at his hospital. He also suggests persons with chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD) cases, asthma patients and lung fibrosis patients to get swine flu vaccine.
Assistant professor pulmonary medicine, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Bhopal, Dr Alkesh K Khurana said the efficacy of the swine flu vaccine was doubtful but there was no harm to get the vaccine administered as it has nominal side effects.
"As every year a different strain of virus, which was prevalent last year is used in swine flu vaccine. The vaccine manufactured last year become useless for this year," said Dr Khurana. However, he said the vaccine should be recommended to all those who were in close contact with swine flu patients and were more prone to the infection.