Spurt in H1N1 cases leads to rush for influenza vaccine

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Lucknow
  • Updated: Feb 17, 2015 14:48 IST

The sharp rise in swine flu cases has triggered a rush for influenza vaccine among residents, especially those who have patients in their neighbourhood.

Some of the leading doctors have also got themselves and their families vaccinated against the virus that has infected people in 19 major localities in the city.

With Board exams round the corner, parents are worried about their wards getting ill.

“After one of my neighbours tested positive for H1N1, I decided to go for vaccination,” said a resident of Gomti Nagar who got vaccine vials from a pharmaceutical firm in New Delhi.

Vaccine related queries at clinics and big chemist shops are growing by the day. But experts have a different view on the utility of this vaccine. They say there is no particular vaccine for H1N1 strain of influenza virus and the one available in the market is for common flu, used for children and elderly vulnerable to common cold during winters.

“The vaccine cannot fully protect people from H1N1,” said Dr Mridul Mehrotra, office bearer of the Lucknow Association of Practicing Pathologists and Microbiologists.

The vaccine is effective only after four weeks. Thus, if one has to get vaccinated, he or she should get it done by the beginning of November, before peak winter arrives, he said.

“Given my profession, I have to interact with a lot of people every day. So I thought it better to get myself vaccinated,” said a physiotherapist, who got herself vaccinated.

The vaccines are not available at stores across the city. Reason: These are seasonal and hence companies are marketing them directly through physicians and child specialists.

“We are avoiding keeping flu vaccines as these are not very helpful. Representatives of pharma companies are selling them directly,” said Suresh Gupta, wholesale medicine trader.

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