Getting anti-rabies vaccine is a big struggle. This dog-bite victim learnt this small nugget of truth the hard way while shuttling from one hospital to another.
The 24-year-old victim reached the Sector 6 civil hospital on Monday morning to get the second shot of anti-rabies vaccine. When she went to the emergency and waited for about 30 minutes, she was asked to go to room number 104 for the injection, only to find that there is no vaccine. She was told to “enquire in two to three days as there was no vaccine available with them”. All the dog-bite victims were being given the same advice and told that they can check the availability of vaccine at the Government Multi-Specialty Hospital, Sector 16.
The victim then went to GMSH, Sector 16. The man at the counter directed her to room number 101 which is meant for emergency OPD cases. There, a team of three doctors was checking patients. The guard asked her to wait outside even as he allowed people out of turn on the recommendation of staff nurses.
After a long wait of 25 minutes, the victim went inside and was told that “they give only first shot and not the second or third shots”. “You can visit Sector 19 or Sector 38 dispensaries for the second or third shot. It is not available with us,” the doctor said.
Outside, a man, who appeared to be in his late 40s, claimed that “he was denied the first shot even as the dog bit him this morning”.
The victim then went to the Sector 19 dispensary around 12:10 pm. A room which was said to be the anti-rabies clinic was empty. There was no one even as eight to nine people waited outside the room. When asked as to where and when the anti-rabies vaccine would be administered, the employees said that “it was their lunch time and she should wait”.
She dutifully waited and then asked a turbaned man, “When will the doctor come? I want to get anti-rabies vaccine administered.”
“It’s the lunch time going on, madam. You need to wait,” he said.
There seemed to be no end to the lunch time, so the victim went back empty-handed. But not without the parting shot: “Aren’t they indirectly forcing people to go to private hospitals?”
That’s a bitter reality.
The UT health department purchases its own vaccine while Chandigarh Municipal Corporation does it at its own level for its two dispensaries in sectors 19 and 38. The MC spends around Rs 40 lakh on buying this vaccine every year.
Chandigarh medical officer of health (MOH) Dr Amrit Warring told Chandigarh Newsline, “It is wrong. The GMSH should not deny any vaccine to a dog-bite victim. They should administer it if a victim goes to them.”
Told about the endless wait and lunch time at the Sector 19 dispensary, he said, “I will just pass directions to the staff. Otherwise the doctor there is very sensitive and informs us about 15 days in advance that the stock of vaccine will run out soon. I will check why the victims were being made to wait.”
Panchkula Chief Medical Officer Yogesh Sharma told Chandigarh Newsline that “there was no shortage of any vaccine in the last one month and a half”.
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