250 anti-rabies vaccines without quality checks injected into patients in Kerala

Representative image. File Photo.

Kozhikode: A total of 250 anti-rabies vaccines, brought to the state without subjecting to mandatory quality checks to be done by the manufacturers or receiving the certification of the Central Drugs Laboratory (CDL), were injected in patients, it has been revealed.

The vaccines were administered in Kozhikode, Thiruvananthapuram, and Thrissur districts. Since none of the recipients reported any allergy or other health issues, no further inquiry was made.

The startling figures got revealed even as the Health Department reiterated that no anti-rabies vaccine had been brought to the state without subjecting it to a quality check.

Certain lapses in the tender proceedings of the Kerala Medical Services Corporation Limited (KMSCL) resulted in the acute shortage of vaccines amid an increase in rabies cases in the state. The circumstances forced the authorities to bring the vaccine without obtaining the CDL quality check certification.

The ‘Malayala Manorama’ report on July 18 about such vaccines being brought to the Medical colleges the previous day forced the Corporation to freeze their distribution on July 19.

As an immediate measure, the KMSCL procured 5,000 vials (small bottles) of CDL-certified rabies vaccine from neighbouring Tamil Nadu.

The Health Minister and the Corporation authorities maintained that not even a single vial of the controversial anti-rabies vaccine batch was distributed.

But it was revealed that a total of 325 vials from the batch were brought to hospitals from three collection centres. Out of this, only 70-odd vaccines were returned.

The authorities resumed distribution of the batch of vaccines following receiving a letter from the manufacturing company on July 21, informing completion of quality checks, and after obtaining the CDL certificate later.

660 hotspots identified
Meanwhile, the Government has identified 660 stray dog hotspots in the state.

The Health Department identified 490 hotspots, based on the cases of patients suffering dog bites, while the Animal Husbandry department found 170 hotspots, going by the figures of dog attacks on other animals, Minister M.B Rajesh said.

If ten or more persons in a panchayat suffer dog bites, it will be classified as a hotspot.

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