Reuters/ New Delhi
A pandemic-spurred demand for flu vaccines in India has surged since a devastating second wave of Covid-19 brought the nation’s healthcare system to its knees earlier this year.
Vaccinations against influenza are not very common in India due to a lack of awareness, access and steep prices, and they are also not part of the federal government’s universal immunisation programme that includes polio, tuberculosis and Hepatitis B.
Still, more than 1,000 shots were administered at Manipal Hospital’s sites in the tech hub of Bengaluru in southern India between July and September, compared with about 3,000 for all of last year, according to the healthcare provider.
“Initially, everyone thought if you got flu vaccines, Covid-19 won’t affect you severely,” said Dr Ram Shankar Mishra, director of internal medicine at the Max Super Specialty Hospital, Saket, in the national capital of New Delhi.
Mishra added demand has increased, even as Covid-19 vaccinations gather pace.
Apollo Hospitals and Fortis Healthcare are also witnessing higher demand for flu shots, including Abbott India’s imported vaccine, Influvac, the private hospital operators told Reuters.Sales in its vaccine unit rose 42.3% in the financial year ended March, largely due to the influenza prevention shot, Abbott India disclosed in its annual report.
Delhi resident Deepak Kapoor, 40, said he got both his children, aged 10 years and aged 8 months, a flu vaccine.
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