Thiruvananthapuram: Twenty-one people, including dog catchers and volunteers who were involved in the vaccination process of stray dogs, have suffered dog bites.
A high-level meeting of the animal husbandry department has decided that at least two doses of preventive vaccine should be administered to the 6,000-odd people who would be engaged in the activities to curb the stray dog menace. Due to this, the implementation of preventive measures could be delayed by a week.
The first dose of the vaccine would be administered by Monday or Tuesday. The second shot has to be taken on the seventh day after the first dose. Those who have currently been administered the vaccine would be deployed to carry out preventive measures until then.
The preventive vaccine is for veterinary doctors, live-stock inspectors, dog catchers, animal handlers and volunteers. Three doses of vaccine have to be administered. After taking the first dose, the second shot must be taken on the seventh day and the next on the 21st. Immunity can be acquired if at least two doses are administered. The animal husbandry department has handed over the list of personnel, who need to be administered the preventive vaccine, to the district medical officers.
A high-level meeting led by the local self-government minister had decided to start the intensive vaccination drive for stray dogs on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, there is no hurdle in vaccinating domestic dogs at the respective local bodies.
There is reportedly a shortage of veterinary doctors with surgical training to implement the Animal Birth Control (ABC) programme for dogs. Currently, there is no practical training in surgery in the undergraduate course for a veterinary doctor. Such training is included only in the PG surgery course, and not even in other PG courses.
Meanwhile, the Kerala Veterinary Officers' Association has shot off a letter to the local self-government minister against entrusting veterinary doctors to implement the ABC programme. They have demanded that the responsibility should be handed over to the panchayat and municipal secretaries. The letter also pointed out that veterinary hospitals do not have enough staff to coordinate and supervise the activities at ABC centres.