Staff Reporter

Regimen, which will reduce vaccination cost drastically, introduced in city.

Thiruvananthapuram: Anti-rabies vaccination will be made available totally free of cost to all in the State by the end of the year, Health Minister P.K. Sreemathy has said.

Inaugurating the new intra-dermal rabies vaccination (IDRV) regimen in the State and the first IDRV clinic at the General Hospital (GH) on Friday, Ms. Sreemathy said that with this, the cost of vaccination can be brought down to just one-fifth of the current expense. The high cost of the vaccine often prevents people from completing the vaccination course, with tragic results. In government hospitals only the first dose is given free now. The vaccines are at present administered intra-muscularly, with the full course costing around Rs.2,000. With IDRV regimen, the total dosage of the vaccine is only about 0.8 ml, making it possible for the government to give the vaccine to more people free of cost. The IDRV regimen gives a better immune response than the intra-muscular regimen as the vaccine is injected into the skin, directly affecting rabies antigens in the blood. This regimen has been in practice in eight States in the country since 2006.

Now, the State spends about Rs. 36 crore annually to buy anti-rabies vaccines. Ms. Sreemathy said eight IDRV model clinics would be set up in the State in the first phase, in all five Medical Colleges, the GH, Thiruvananthapuram, Palakkad district hospital and the taluk hospital at Ottappalam.