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J&K begins flu vaccination for healthcare professionals

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Srinagar: Health and Medical Education Department on Monday began influenza vaccination for healthcare professionals dealing with patients infected by the coronavirus, officials said.

Healthcare workers are at increased risk of exposure to COVID-19 as compared to the general population, with potential threat for their health and for patients’ safety.

“The Health & Medical Education Department has started influenza vaccination for health care professionals dealing with COVID-19 patients from today in J&K,” Financial Commissioner, Health and Medical Education Department, J&K Atul Dulloo was quoted as saying by PTI.

He said the vaccination process started from Government Medical College (GMC) in Srinagar. “The vaccine has been supplied by J&K Medical Supplies Corporation Limited,” Dulloo said.

The sudden rollout of the flu vaccination to doctors and paramedical staff across healthcare institutions in Jammu and Kashmir becomes necessary in the wake of the safety of health professionals, officials of the department said.

The need to maintain physically distancing, and at the same time see huge numbers of “at risk” health professionals is going to make it one of the most challenging vaccination programmes Jammu and Kashmir has delivered till now, they added.

The officials said the doctors, paramedics and other staff of the health institutes will have to go through suboptimal vaccination coverage.

“Healthcare professionals and workers are at increased risk of exposure to the pandemic compared to the general population, with potential threat for their health and for patients’ safety,” a senior officer at GMC said.

Healthcare workers are toiling countless hours since the global outbreak of COVID-19 (also known as the novel coronavirus) that was declared as a pandemic by the World Health Organization, they said.

Healthcare systems across developed and developing nations are being put to the ultimate test and are under tremendous pressure to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus.

A majority of this responsibility is being shouldered by frontline healthcare workers effortlessly putting their lives on the line in order to do so, they added.

The dire challenges are currently being faced by frontline health workers to ensure the provision of rapid, well-equipped, and efficient healthcare services.

In comparison to others infected with COVID-19, the risk of death due to infection is 17 times higher in doctors and 15 times more in healthcare workers, according to the Indian Medical Association (IMA).

According to IMA’s COVID-19 data on September 16, as many as 2,238 doctors were infected with the disease and of them 382 lost their lives, a senior official of the doctors’ body said.

It has been noted that in every one lakh people in India there are 4,969 cases of infected healthcare workers, 1,428 cases of infected doctors and 285 of others. For every one lakh COVID-19 patients, doctor deaths are 87, healthcare personnel 16 and common people five, the IMA said.

The positivity rate in healthcare workers from January to May as analysed by the IMA is 4.6 percent. It was 2.8 percent for healthcare workers who came in contact with COVID-19 patients without adequate protection. (With PTI inputs)


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