Swine flu, these days, may not be as rampant as last year when over 787 cases were detected in the State and nearly 55 persons died because of complications arising out of it. However, sporadic cases continue to get reported from districts and there is always a possibility of the virus making a comeback next winter, physicians maintain.

To be prepared for this eventuality, authorities on Thursday launched swine flu vaccination drive among healthcare workers, who are, when it comes to fighting H1N1 virus, the first line of defence.

All government hospitals including those in the districts have been given sufficient doses of the vaccine for inoculation of healthcare workers.

This is the first phase of swine flu vaccination drive and, according to authorities, the second phase covering high risk groups among general public will be taken up after an indigenous vaccine is developed.

The present vaccine being administered to health workers, has been imported by noted pharma giant Sanofi Pasteur.

Health care workers from private hospitals, who are willing to get inoculated, can also get themselves administered with the vaccine at any of the Government hospitals, authorities said.

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has supplied close to 80,000 doses of swine flu vaccine for inoculation of health workers in the State. In all, the Centre has procured nearly 15 lakh doses of swine flu vaccine for distribution all over the country.

The swine flu vaccine will provide immunity for only one year because of the possibility of the virus changing its ‘nature' and turning into a more virulent form in the next few years. “In the second phase of vaccination, which could start in three to four months, pregnant women and children will be our prime targets.

Because of their compromised immunity, they are susceptible to this virus and hence they will be given the indigenous vaccine,” said state swine flu coordinator Dr. K. Subhakar.

More In: Hyderabad