Representational Image | Photo: AFP
Kozhikode: The Medical College Hospital (MCH) and Beach Hospital in Kozhikode have been facing a severe shortage of anti-rabies vaccines for the past two months. Due to lack of availability of the vaccines, people who come to the hospital after being bitten by dogs, cats and foxes are often forced to buy medicine from outside.
The vaccines, which cost around Rs 250 at Karunya pharmacies, are sold at higher prices of Rs 500 - Rs 600 at private medical stores. As per reports, the shortage is due to restrictions imposed on the distribution of medicines by Kerala Medical Services Corporation (KMSCL), which provides supplies to all the medical colleges and government hospitals across the state.
Although hospital authorities have demanded vaccine supply from the KMSCL, it is learnt that vaccines can be distributed only by July. Apparently, there is a shortage of vaccines across the state.
As of now, there is an acute shortage of Equine Rabies Immunoglobulin (ERIG) vaccines, whose dosage is calculated based on the weight of the affected person.
Around 90 people seek vaccines for dog bites (or other animal bites) on a regular basis at the 24-hour community medicine department at the hospitals. On an average, only 25 per cent of those who suffer dog bites require the ERIG vaccine. However, in case of overweight people, the available medicines may not be sufficient, authorities said.
“Seven people came to the hospital after being bitten by a fox the other day. But, as we ran out of the vaccine stock, we had to refer them to the medical college,” said the superintendent, Beach Hospital.