State will return unused H1N1 shots to Centre | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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State will return unused H1N1 shots to Centre

The state government is returning more than half of the H1N1 vaccines, which were meant for immunisation of health professionals, to the Centre as it has failed to utilise the doses and their October expiry date is nearing.

mumbai Updated: Aug 24, 2010 01:31 IST
Neha Bhayana

The state government is returning more than half of the H1N1 vaccines, which were meant for immunisation of health professionals, to the Centre as it has failed to utilise the doses and their October expiry date is nearing.

The Centre had sent 34,000 doses of the injectible H1N1 vaccine, procured from French pharmaceutical company Sanofi-Pasteur, to Maharashtra health authorities in May for immunisation of doctors and paramedical staff.

The Centre had purchased 1.5 million doses for Rs 300 each so that the health professionals treating swine flu patients are protected against the infection.

Around 15,300 health professionals across Maharashtra had taken the vaccine until Saturday.

“The remaining 18,700 doses will be returned. The Union Government may discard the vaccines or give them to other states if there is a demand,” said Dr. V.M. Kulkarni, who is in-charge of immunisation in the state.

He added that all districts had been asked to return the leftover vaccines to the Pune office of the directorate of health services.

While Kolhapur and Nashik circles had already sent the vaccines, other districts are expected to do the same soon.

Initially, few doctors were willing to get themselves inoculated fearing side effects and because the vaccine provides immunity against swine flu for only a year.

The state had then conducted a series of workshops to dispel myths and sensitise doctors about the benefits of vaccine.

This coupled with the surge in swine flu cases, led to increase in the demand for vaccination, but it was not enough to ensure complete utilisation of the vaccines.

“We had received consent for vaccination from 15,400 health professionals and 11,433 others had filled forms stating they were unwilling to take the shot and would take responsibility if they contracted H1N1. So, we have covered almost everyone,” said Dr Kulkarni, explaining why they were not waiting for longer to see if more doctors wanted to get vaccinated.