Health Minister MRK Panneerselvam on Monday inaugurated an A(H1N1) vaccine camp at the KING Institute of Preventive Medicine, Guindy. The response was overwhelming as crowds thronged the Institute to get vaccinated.

Two vaccines, both indigenous, Nasovac and Vaxiflu, are being made available at a subsidised cost at Guindy. Nasovac, administered as nasal drops, is pegged at Rs.150, and Vaxiflu, priced at Rs. 250, is available as an injection. A total of 300 persons were administered the vaccine during the day, according to P. Gunasekharan, deputy director, KING Institute of Preventive Medicine.

Toll-free number soon

He said efforts were on to provide a toll-free number that would enable those who want to vaccinate themselves to fix up an appointment . The facility will be open for the purpose between 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day.

After vaccination, each person is issued a card that mentions the time and date when the vaccine was administered. “It may soon become a requirement for travel; airports authorities may demand it prior to travel. To have such a card will be handy,” Dr. Gunasekharan added. The vaccines are certified to provide “high protection” against the A(H1N1) strain prevalent across 221 countries, he added. While he recommends postponing vaccination if someone has fever or other respiratory infections, Dr. Gunasekharan also warns that some usual side-effects of the vaccination could be slight fever, vomiting, and headache.

Principal Secretary, Health, V.K.Subburaj urged residents not to panic and rush to vaccinate themselves. “The camp will be on for a long while, so people must take their time to get the shot. Those with reduced immunity and chronic conditions like diabetes must prioritise the vaccine,” he added.

The vaccine is available at a much better rate than in the market, because of special arrangement with the manufacturers, Mr. Subburaj said.

The special camp itself has been organised as the government is worried the upcoming rainy (cold) season might facilitate the easy transmission of virus from person to person. “If you look at the statistics, we have has 623 cases in the last nine months (and 9 deaths). This is far lower when compared to other states, but we want to ensure that the community is immunised in case there is a wave.”

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