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Hospitals face shortage of vaccines to deal with swine flu

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Srinagar, Feb 13: Hospitals across the valley are running short of vaccines for H1N1 influenza leaving both the staff and patients vulnerable to the deadly infection.

Fourteen patients were tested positive at Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS). Of whom three have been discharged after treatment. Eleven patients including five males and a child have been admitted to the hospital.

 

More than 750 people have been tested for H1N1 influenza at SKIMS since September 2019. Except 14, all have been tested negative for H1N1 strain.

An official at SMHS Hospital said 70 to 80 percent of the staffers have not been vaccinated since September when the suspected flu cases were tested.

“A good number of patients with viral infections are reporting to the hospitals nowadays. To make the matters worse, there is neither ample number of N95 masks nor sufficient medication available ,” the official said.

An official at Government Super Specialty Hospital, Srinagar, said limited number of vaccines is available at the facility. “A lot of the staffers have not been vaccinated because there is shortage of vaccines,” he said.

A senior female gynecologist at JLNM hospital, Rainawari, said they had neither been informed about the precautionary measures nor administered any vaccines. 

“The expecting mothers are more susceptible to the virus. However, we have not been equipped,” she said. 

The situation is worse in the district and sub-districts hospitals which also receive a good number of patients from high risk groups.

A senior doctor posted at sub-district hospital, Charisharief, said no staffer has been vaccinated in the hospital.

“None of the staffers at the hospital have been vaccinated. We have not been provided with any masks,” he said.

Surprisingly, there is no testing facility available at Pulwama district hospital.

“Only sample collection happens here. We later send them to the tertiary care hospitals for proper diagnosis,” said Dr Jameel, Medical Superintendent at the Pulwama district hospital.

Similarly, in Baramulla district hospital, four to five samples suspected of having H1N1 strains, were sent to SKIMS for tests.

“We have all the adequate vaccines and isolation kits available at the hospital,” said Dr Masood, Medical Superintendent at Baramulla district hospital.

GMC Principal, Srinagar Dr Parveiz Shah said that around 4000 vaccines have been procured in December last year.

“Besides vaccines, we have enough medicines, isolation kits, and personal protection gear available at the hospitals,” he said.

Director Health Kashmir, Sameer Mattoo said over 2,500 vaccines have been procured and administered to all the high risk groups in September.

“We are ready to tackle any adverse situation . The required equipment and medicines have been sent to the hospitals across the valley,” Mattoo said.