While flu vaccine is vitally important this year in view of ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) on Tuesday said high cost is keeping the vaccine out of reach for poor.
“One flu vaccine costs between Rs 1850 to Rs 1975,” said DAK President and influenza expert Dr Nisar ul Hassan.
“The price makes flu vaccine unaffordable for poor people,” he said.
Dr Hassan said people want to get vaccinated, but cost is the barrier.
“Unaffordabilty is putting lives of people at serious risk,” he said
Seeking free vaccination against flu especially to high risk groups like young children, senior citizens, pregnant women and persons with medical conditions, Dr Hassan said government needs to make sure any treatment that has the potential to save lives is accessible and affordable to all those who need it.
“Free vaccination would increase vaccine uptake and protect these vulnerable individuals from contracting and dying from flu,” he said.
“We must remove all obstacles to the widespread use of the vaccine which is the single best defense against flu,” he added.
Dr Nisar said the benefits of flu vaccine go beyond warding off respiratory-related problems.
“Flu vaccine reduces your risk for heart attack and stroke,” he said adding “studies have shown that people who receive flu shots are 55% less likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke.”
“We have one more good reason to have flu shot.” said Dr Nisar.
“We have a vaccine against heart attacks and strokes that are responsible for majority of deaths in our community,” he said.
“Ideally, people should get vaccine by the end of October. However, getting vaccinated later can still be beneficial and vaccination should continue to be offered throughout the flu season even into January or later,” he informed.