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H1N1 nasal vaccine popular with patients

Last week, paediatrician Dr Sanjeev Parikh took the swine flu nasal spray vaccine Nasovac himself as a precautionary measure.

mumbai Updated: Jul 28, 2010 01:05 IST
Sai Raje

Last week, paediatrician Dr Sanjeev Parikh took the swine flu nasal spray vaccine Nasovac himself as a precautionary measure.

"The only side effect that I observed was a stuffy nose for a few hours after taking the vaccine," said Parikh, a Chembur-based paediatrician. "I administered the spray to those who request it as well as prescribed it to young and elderly patients who fall in the high-risk group for swine flu."

Since its launch in the city on July 14, 2,000 vials of Nasovac, India's first nasal vaccine against swine flu, have been sold, said Dilip Mehta, president of the Maharashtra State Chemists and Druggists Association.

Each vial contains five doses of the vaccine, which means 10,000 doses have been sold since the vaccine, developed by the Pune-based Serum Institute of India, hit the shelves. In comparison, only 3,400 doses of the injectible vaccine, which the government is offering to public hospital staff, have been used.

"The response to the nasal spray vaccine has been good, especially since it's being sold with only three chemists in the city," said Mehta. "The vaccine has a short shelf life of nine months, which is why not many chemists are stocking it," added Mehta.

Two chemists in Mulund and another in Dadar, stock the H1N1 nasal vaccine. Since one vial of the vaccine contains five doses, doctors advise a patient to get together with four other family members to take the vaccine at the same time. "Or we also call five different patients together to get the vaccine, so that we use all the doses in the vial," said Parikh.