Saturday, June 2, 2018

Shortage of Anti-rabies vaccine haunts puneites


PUNE: Private medical stores have been running short of anti-rabies vaccine (ARV) in the city for the past six months, causing inconvenience to people.

The situation is a tad better at public hospitals. State-run Sassoon General Hospital and Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC)-run hospitals have some vaccine vials in stock. But they are not enough. The requirement of anti-rabies vaccine at PMC’s network of hospitals and dispensaries is 1,500 doses per month. But they currently have only 300 doses in stock.

The city records an average 800 dog bite cases every month. Thus, on an average, around 25 people need ARV every day. The prevailing shortage of ARV - in Pune and the rest of the country - is forcing needy residents to run from the pillar to post for the vaccine.

Confirming the shortage, general physician Dhere said, “I get 10 dog bite patients every day on an average, who need to be administered the ARV immediately. But there has been an acute shortage of ARV for the past six months. The ARV manufactured by three different pharma companies are in use in Pune. But all the three are in short supply.

Sagar Gupta, the president of Maharashtra State Vaccine Dealers’ Association, said, “There are around 10 to 15 distributors of ARV in Pune. If the monthly requirement of each of the distributor is 1,000 doses of ARV, they are getting only 300 doses.”

Gupta said, “The production of some of the manufacturing companies has gone down for various technical reasons. A huge consignment of ARV is exported to China. Besides, the government has taken a big chunk of ARV for public hospitals. All these have led to the shortage.”

The monthly requirement of ARV at Sassoon General Hospital is 500 doses. “We get patients of dog bites from not just Pune city but from Pimpri Chinchwad, rural parts of Pune and even adjoining districts. Hence, the requirement is always on the higher side,” said the hospital’s dean, spine surgeon Ajay Chandanwale. PMC’s estimates state that the stray dog population has increased significantly over the years. It was 40,000 five years ago and is now 52,000. But experts stressed it could well be over 1.25 lakh.


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