Shortage of anti-rabies vaccines set to end, new stock arrives

The vaccine dispatch is set to pick up with the Central Drugs Laboratory (CDL) providing the quality test certificate. Photo: File Image

Kozhikode: Kerala's vaccination drive against rabies got a fillip as the required amount of vaccines would be made available soon. Already, 49,400 Equine Rabies Immunoglobulin (ERIG) vials arrived at vaccine collection centers in Thiruvananthapuram and Ernakulam. The vaccine dispatch is set to pick up with the Central Drugs Laboratory (CDL) providing the quality test certificate.

The Government will immediately place the order for another batch of vaccines as per the decision of the director board of the Kerala Medical Services Corporation Limited (KMSCL). The new order is to meet the likely demand two months later, the office of the Health Minister informed.

Except for 2500 vials, the rest of the lot of vaccines ordered for the 2022-23 financial year has reached the state. The KMSCL director board has sanctioned the procurement of an additional 1.40 lakh vials.

Though the production of the vaccines for Kerala was over two months back, the manufacturer VINS Bioproducts Ltd refused to deliver the same without first getting the CDL quality test certificate.

So far the KMSCL representatives were in regular contact with the CDL officials to hasten the process. Still, the same didn’t bear fruit for nearly two months. Vaccine shortage had hampered the campaign to immunise both humans and dogs. As the state faced acute vaccine shortage, several rabies deaths were reported.

The situation became dire last week with only 800 vaccine vials in stock. KMSCL again contacted CDL authorities, citing the urgency, following which they finally gave the approval to four batches of the anti-rabies vaccine, each containing 18,680 vials. Soon, the vaccines were dispatched by the manufacturer and the load arrived early on Monday morning. The consignment was against an August 17 purchase order issued by the KMSCL.

Earlier, it was alleged that KMSCL procured anti-rabies vaccine without subjecting them to quality check in its bid to avoid delay and meet the rising vaccine demand.

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