Shortage of anti-rabies vaccine starts to bite

The shortage of anti-rabies vaccine is impeding patient care at many government hospitals in the district.

Health sources say at least a dozen people seek treatment for dog bites at government hospitals in the district every week. But, the pharmacies at the Government Medical College Hospital (MCH) and the General Hospital, Beach, are unable to cater to the demand as supply is very limited.

The agony increases as the vaccine is in short-supply in most private hospitals and medical shops.

Health officials say the World Health Organisation (WHO) has listed the drug as one of the ‘most important medications needed in a basic health system.’

District Medical Officer P.K. Mohanan says there is a severe shortage of the expensive anti-rabies serum. The vaccine and the serum have to be administered together if the bite is severe.

Of the three types of vaccines, namely, the human diploid cell rabies vaccine, purified chick embryo cell vaccine, and duck embryo cell vaccine, the first two have become very scarce, Dr. Mohanan says.

“Vaccine manufacturers are cutting down on production as it is not cost effective. The profit margin is quite low and the retail medical shops are not interested,” he says.

P. Jalaja, Beypore Port ward councillor, says 15 persons from her ward could not get treatment at the MCH a fortnight ago.

“We could get the medication for two people from the Beach General Hospital. The rest was sourced from other places with the help of the local MLA,” she says.

The people in the neighbourhood are in perpetual fear as the number of dogs has risen. “Foxes also are seen in our area, adding to the panic,” she says.

The Corporation is pinning all hopes on ‘Raksha,’ a soon-to-be-launched project for animal birth control and vaccination, sources say.

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Printable version | Aug 3, 2021 7:20:24 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/shortage-of-antirabies-vaccine-starts-to-bite/article6703863.ece

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