Millennium Post

No need to vaccinate people against swine flu: Nadda

No need to vaccinate people against swine flu: Nadda
The House was told that drugs cannot be used in an irresponsible manner. “Even though the influenza is of a seasonal nature with maximum impact during this time of the year, the morbidity and more important the mortality associated with the influenza are matters of great concern for all of us,” Nadda said in the Lok Sabha.

As per the Health Ministry data, the highest number of deaths have been reported from Rajasthan, where 225 people have perished due to the disease while 4,734 people are affected with the deadly virus. Collated data by Health Ministry said 875 persons have died in various states till February 23 this year while 15,413 persons have been affected by the disease.

The minister also told the Lower House that while declaring the pandemic to be over in 2010, the WHO had declared that the swine flu virus would circulate as a seasonal virus for some years now. Many of the deaths due to the virus this year are due to co-morbid conditions already present in patients like diabetes, heart conditions and cancer.

“Vaccination is not recommended for general public as of now. The Health Ministry has been closely monitoring the scene. States have been provided guidelines for screening and management of cases,” Nadda said.

Rejecting to the reports on shortages of Tamiflu, the drug used for treating H1N1 virus influenza or swine flu, the minister said there is no shortage as Oseltamivir (Tamiflu), preventive N-95 masks and other personal protection equipments are being given to state governments.

“We have already supplied 58,000 capsules of Tamiflu and teams from the Union health ministry have been sent to worst affected states like Telangana, Rajasthan and Gujarat,” Nadda affirmed.

Nadda also said that the drug, however, cannot be sold over the counter and has to be made available only against prescription. It could be sold through a chemist with license under Schedule X of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act.

“We cannot afford a situation where due to irrational use of the drug, resistance is developed, rendering the drug incapable of fighting the virus. However, to ensure that the general public requiring the drug does not face any inconvenience, we have advised the state governments to review the locations of the Schedule X pharmacies and issue fresh licenses for under-represented or not represented locations,” he said.

WHO 'carefully watching' situation

World Health Organisation (WHO) is "carefully watching" the swine flu situation in India with close to 15,000 people having come down with the disease so far this year even though it said that there are "no signs" yet of the makings of a large outbreak of the H1N1 virus. A senior WHO official said the seasonal influenza was quite normal at this time of the year and that its India office was closely working with the Indian government for dealing with the disease.
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