Srinagar: Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) on Friday urged health authorities in Kashmir valley to provide free flu vaccine to poor people.
“That would increase vaccine uptake and save lives,” said DAK President and influenza expert Dr Nisar ul Hassan.
“Poor are not getting vaccinated against the flu and cost is the barrier. One flu vaccine costs Rs 1680. High cost of the vaccine keeps it out of reach for poor people,” he said
“The price makes the flu vaccine inaccessible to the poor,” said the DAK President adding “unaffordability of the vaccine is putting lives of poor people at serious risk.”
“Unvaccinated individuals not only risk themselves, but they put the health of the whole community at risk.”
He said vaccination is the single best defense against flu and should be done before the start of flu season which begins in October and can last as late as May.
Flu vaccine reduces illnesses, doctors’ visits, hospitalization and death.
Dr Nisar said this year it is more important than ever to get the flu vaccine to reduce the spread of flu and keep the healthcare system from being overtaxed with continued surge of Covid-19 infection.
Studies have indicated that flu vaccine reduces the risk of severe Covid-19 infection by improving your innate immunity.
“This season’s flu vaccine is vital to avoid dual epidemics of flu and Covid-19 that could overwhelm the already burdened health care system.”
He said while the vaccine is recommended for all, it is especially needed in young children, elderly, pregnant women and people with medical conditions.
“With re-opening of schools and flu season about to begin, it is vitally important to vaccinate your kids now,” Dr Nisar said.
“Children 6 months through 8 years getting vaccinated for the first time and those who have received only one dose in their life time should get two doses of vaccine this season spaced at least 4 weeks apart,” he said
“The nasal spray flu vaccine is back for needle-shy children,” he added.
“In addition to the annual flu vaccine, people can prevent the spread of both flu and Covid-19 by wearing a mask, maintaining good personal hygiene and following social distancing,” said Dr Nisar.