Bengaluru hospitals run out of H1N1 vaccine stock

Bengaluru hospitals run out of H1N1 vaccine stock

Many private hospitals have exhausted their stock of vaccines and are clueless about replenishment.

The Karnataka government appears to be staring at a severe shortage of flu shots — preventive vaccination against H1N1. Contrary to the state government’s claims that it is prepared to tackle the spread of H1N1, several private hospitals in Bengaluru revealed to Deccan Herald that they have already exhausted their stock of vaccines and are clueless about the replenishment.

To ascertain the preparedness of private hospitals, DH conducted a reality check by randomly calling up prominent hospitals across Bengaluru enquiring for flu shots. DH reporters called up six private hospitals — Vikram Hospital, Mallya Hospital, Columbia Asia Hospital (Hebbal), Sagar Apollo (Jayanagar), Manipal Hospital (Indiranagar) and Baptist Hospital — to enquire about flu shots.

Surprisingly, out of the six hospitals, only three were equipped with the vaccine while the others revealed that they have exhausted the stock and have no idea when they will be replenished. The hospitals’ candid revelation about the shortage of vaccines raised questions over the actual preparedness of the state to put an end to the fast-spreading H1N1.

On the other hand, the state government denied that there is any shortage or short supply of either the preventive vaccine or oseltamivir across the state. Clarifying on the issue, Pankaj Kumar Pandey, commissioner, Department of Health and Family Welfare said that he would check the situation in private hospitals.

“There is a rule under the Karnataka Private Medical Establishments Act that private players ought to assist the government in terms of treatment in case of an increase in disease numbers. There is enough power to take action under the provisions of the Act. However, we can act only after the situation is assessed,” he said. 

Similarly, Dr Manoranjana Hegde, chief health officer, BBMP clarified, “We have enough stock of vaccines in all government hospitals. There is no short supply of the drug or vaccine. Also, as part of the H1N1 guidelines that hospitals have been provided with, they ought to be prepared to attend to cases and administer them with vaccine or drugs.”