Monday, 21 June 2010

Swine flu: No takers for novel human influenza vaccine

Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, June 21: Several lakh doses of novel human influenza vaccine are available in the Indian market, but there are no takers for fear of side effects.

The novel human influenza vaccine including the recently launched Indian variety may cause adverse reactions in people allergic to certain ingredients present in them. The side effects are more severe if the person has previous history of allergy to protein present in eggs and chicken.

If statistics are any indication, even health workers, who are supposedly to be vaccinated before the swine flu vaccine is used for the general public, are not inclined to take the dose. The vaccine did not go well in major cities including Hyderabad, Delhi and Pune.

Many health workers in Andhra Pradesh are not willing to take the vaccine, forcing the State government to seek permission from the Centre for immunisation of the general public. The Centre had sent about 80,000 doses of swine flu vaccine to the State. Only 550 persons had undergone vaccination in Hyderabad thus far. In Pune, where swine flu created havoc last year, the response was poor. Even free vaccination camps were reported to be empty.

The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has admitted that the signs of allergic reaction to human influenza vaccine may include itchy skin rash, shortness of breath and swelling of the face or tongue. In rare cases it may lead to shock. "Doctors are aware of this possibility and need to have emergency treatment available for use in such cases," according to MoHFW guidelines on the vaccine use.

One in every 10 persons vaccinated will have side effects like headache, muscular pain and pain at the injection site, while one to 10 users in 100 will complain of shivering, fever, and redness and swelling at the site of injection.

"These side effects usually disappear without treatment within 1 to 3 days after onset. But those suffering from asthma should be extra careful about the vaccine. They may have severe reaction to the vaccination," admits Dr Ch Jaya Kumari, Hyderabad district medical and health officer.

In severe cases of reaction to the vaccine, the patient may suffer from neugalgia (pain in nerve route), convulsions with fever and differences in the perception of touch, pain, heat and cold (paraesthesia). The neurological disorders may result in stiff neck, confusion, numbness, pain and weakness of the limbs, loss of balance, loss of reflexes, paralysis of part or all the body.

The MoHFW has noted with caution that "as with all injectable vaccines, appropriate medical treatment and supervision should always be readily available in case of a rare anaphylactic event following the administration of the vaccine". However, Dr K Subhakar Rao, State coordinator for swine flu, refused to comment on the adverse reactions the vaccine may cause.

With fresh bouts of swine flu cases being reported from different parts of the country including Hyderabad, the Central government has made it mandatory for all health officials to send report on the adverse events following immunisation.

The first information report is to be furnished to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare within 48 hours. Preliminary investigation report for the serious adverse event is to be reported within seven days by district AEFI (adverse events following immunisation) Committee to the State and the Central governments.

Monday, 7 June 2010

BJP president Nitin Gadkari questions Rahul's credentials

2010
By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, June 7: BJP president Nitin Gadkari on Monday said the only political qualification AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi possessed was the "Gandhi" tag.
Taking a sharp dig at the "dynasty politics" of the Congress, Nitin Gadkari told this correspondent that the "biggest qualification of Rahul Gandhi is that he is the son of Sonia Gandhi, and Rajiv Gandhi, who is the son of Indira Gandhi, who is the daughter of Jawaharlal Nehru".
When his attention was drawn to a section of the Congress leadership projecting Rahul Gandhi as the party's prime ministerial candidate, the BJP chief said the top posts are reserved for the Gandhi family.
"Even senior Congress leaders like Pranab Mukharjee and P Chidambaram cannot even dream of occupying the Congress president's post or that of the prime minister," he said adding that only
hard work would matter in the BJP.
"I came up the political ladder in the BJP as its president, from being an ordinary party worker. I used to affix party posters on walls," said Gadkari, who is being projected as the young face of the BJP.

BJP sets its eyes on traditional vote bank of the Congress

2010
By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, June 7: The BJP has set aside its Ram Janmabhoomi agenda and plans to reach out to the tradtional vote bank of the Congress in a bid to return to power at the Centre.
BJP president Nitin Gadkari on Monday said his party would now focus on progress of the nation and fight against poverty, while highlighting the plight of the common man and the farmer.
In an interview to this newspaper here, Gadkari said the BJP would adopt, what he called the 21st century politics, more aimed at progress and development rather than communal issues. Shifting its focus, the BJP is constantly taking up economic issues.
The party will open its arms to scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and minorities (traditional vote banks of the Congress) to bridge the 10 per cent vote gap between the BJP and the Congress. The BJP leadership hopes that if the party improved upon its votes by a little over 10 per cent, it will come to power at the Centre.
"The BJP is 10 per cent votes behind the Congress in the country. The BJP need to improve upon its strength in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. We have to strengthen the party base by including Scheduled Castes, Schedued Tribes, minorities and the labour in unorganised sector," Gadkari said.
Stating that the BJP will focus on poverty, price rise and problems of farmers, Gadkari said five committees have been set up so far to address the problem of poverty. Still 41 crore people live below the povertyline in the country. This is because of the wrong economic
policies of the Congress.
The BJP will also reach out to intellectuals, professionals and businessmen. "We will organise meetings with all these sections. Our main focus will be on weak States. Our political and organisational plan is ready and we will implement it soon," he said.
Denying that the BJP is a communal party, the BJP president dubbed the Congress as the most communal party in the country. "The Congress plays the communal politics. It's policy is appeasement of terrorists. The BJP on the other hand, is not against any section of
people".
Making a scathing attack on the UPA government, he said the file relating to Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru had been kept in abeyance for four years at the behest of the Union Home Minister. The party that is protecting Afzal Guru is described as progressive and secular.
"And when we raise the demand of Ram temple at the place of birth of Lord Rama, we are dubbed communal. If you oppose foreign nationals illegally settling down in India you are described as communal. We are not anti-Muslim. We are anti-terrorists and anti-communal. We do not
play politics on the basis of caste, religion, creed and region," Gadkari said.
Unfolding the party's new political plan, he said the BJP is not opposed to Haj subsidy. "Sometimes it is tragedy of image versus reality. A section of Press is involved in spreading the misconception about the BJP and its policies. My statement on Jawaharlal Nehru and BJP
internal affairs was misquoted. I have the tapes of my address with me".
On the BJP missing in action party poster boys Atal Bihari Vajyapee and LK Advani, Gadkari said "I am not handicapped. I still get their support. We have a collective team of young leaders like Rajnath Singh, Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley and M Venkaiah Naidu." When asked who would be the BJP's PM mascot, he said "It is not election time. When the elections come we will think of the party's prime ministerial candidate. For now we will expand our political base, expand our party and increase our mass base."
To a question why should one vote for the BJP, Nitan Gadkari said BJP is the principal opposition party which believes in good governance. During the Congress and RJD rule the GDP in Bihar was in minus points. Now the GDP in Bihar is 11 per cent.
On the return of senior leaders like Jaswanth Singh and Uma Bharati to the BJP fold, he said if anyone is interested they are welcome. The party parliamentary board will decide the issue.
"Our main focus will be on Andhra Pradesh and South India where the problem of water is at its severest. We will take up the issue of linking of rivers and conservation of water to increase production by five times." He, however, evaded a question on Maharashtra going ahead
with irrigation projects on the upper Godavari basin, affecting existing irrigation projects in Andhra Pradesh.

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