Chickenpox vaccine too costly for the poor

Chickenpox vaccine too costly for the poor

With poor families unable to afford the chickenpox vaccine, many children have become susceptible to the disease.

The Varicella vaccine, administered to prevent the infection, is priced too high for the poor to afford. Also, it is not given at any government hospital either for free or at a subsidy price, because it does not fall under the World Health Organisation’s list of mandatory vaccines. Suma, a daily wage worker and mother of a four-year-old daughter suffering from blisters and mild fever, said that the vaccine was too expensive for poor families like hers. She waits at a private clinic in Rajarajeshwarinagar for her child’s turn to be treated.

“I earn just enough for our basic needs and to send her to school. To get a vaccine, I will have to ask people to lend me money. It will be tough for me to repay it,” she said, adding that it was the same situation in the case of her co-workers. According to City doctors, the mandatory two vials of the vaccine costs Rs 3,200.

The Department of Health and Family Welfare said that the vaccine is not supplied to either the State-run medical college hospitals or to the BBMP centres. The same was confirmed by Dr Venkatesh, BBMP’s medical officer. A senior doctor from Vanivilas Hospital said, “We see quite a number of chickenpox cases, especially during summer.

Most of the patients are financially weak and are not vaccinated because they cannot afford it,” the doctor said.Dr Sheril Hegde, paediatrician at Vikram Hospital, said that the vaccine does not ensure complete protection, but reduces the intensity of the infection.  up during summer as it is conducive for the infection to spread.

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