The state health ministry has asked civic corporations in the state to vaccinate people who suffer from diabetes, hypertension and obesity against swine flu.
This year, half the swine flu deaths recorded were among patients with diabetes and hypertension. “The corporations as well as private hospitals can procure the swine flu vaccine and immunise vulnerable groups,” said Dr Satish Pawar, director, directorate of health services, Maharashtra.
Last month, the department held meetings with vaccine manufacturers to negotiate the cost of the vaccine. At present, a major pharmaceutical company has agreed to supply the vaccine at Rs300 a dose. “It was not feasible to vaccinate all vulnerable groups. However, corporations can study the mortality pattern in their regions and undertake the vaccination drive,” said a senior state health official.
Between January and June this year, 233 people in the state who died of swine flu were also battling diabetes and hypertension. So far this year, 5,307 people in the state have contracted the infection.
The health department has written to the central health ministry to fund the community vaccination but is yet to receive any response. At present, the union ministry has agreed to fund the vaccination of doctors and other health care providers who are likely to contract the infection from patients.