Union Health Ministry recommends H1N1 vaccine to vulnerable group in J&K

With the spurt in H1N1 cases this year in Jammu and Kashmir, the Union Health ministry has recommended vaccination for doctors, healthcare workers and other vulnerable groups for the three prevalent virus strains, including H1N1 in the month of September and October.
Union Health Ministry recommends H1N1 vaccine to vulnerable group in J&KAs per the advisory issued by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), vaccination should be given to four to five vulnerable groups to prevent H1N1 epidemic in the coming months.
The group includes children under the age of five, elderly and immune compromised patients and doctors and healthcare workers who are handling patients
The influenza vaccine, which is trivalent in nature, gives protection not only against H1N1 but also against H3N2 and Influenza B — the three vaccines prevalent this year.
Experts in SK Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) have also cautioned the health department about the possible outbreak ofH1N1 flu if precautionary measures like vaccinations are not taken.
 “Outbreak of another spell of H1N1 can occur in the state if government delays precautionary measures and issuance of advisories,” said a senior doctor at SKIMS.
He said it was high time to start vaccination and issue advisory on Swine Flu in order to prevent chaotic situation in coming months.
Doctors said H1N1 cases would start coming as temperate dips in the state.
 “It is high time to make people aware about the outbreak well in time so that everyone takes preventive measures without panic,” thy said.
Early this year the Swine Flu outbreak proved deadly in JK. Around two dozen people died of the disease while half of the causalities were from Jammu province. Around 500 people had tested positive for H1N1 virus in the state.
Though Kashmir region remained worst hit the winter capital was least prepared to combat the pandemic. While Kashmir is equipped with super specialty SKIMS, Jammu has no such facility.
Last year, the blame squarely went on SKIMS for having failed to timely apprise the government and people about the disease outbreak. SKIMS Director Showkat Zargar and his associates were accused of deliberately hiding the disease outbreak for their personal gains.
Though the SKIMS has state-of-the-art influenza testing laboratory, it was caught napping on the preparedness.
KashmirInFocus through it’s extensively coverage had alerted authorities about the possible H1N1 outbreak. However, authorities were caught ill prepared worsened the situation of epidemic.


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