Doctors and paramedical staff dealing with swine flu patients are likely to be vaccinated after the health department receives the vaccine stock by the end of the week.
"The vaccines will be free for doctors and paramedic staff who are directly dealing with patients admitted at hospitals for swine flu or in the OPD. These healthcare workers are most likely to be vaccinated from Monday," said Dr. S K Sharma, Directorate of Health Services (DHS).
The Delhi government has recommended all 100-bed hospitals to treat swine flu and there are 25 designated hospitals to deal with swine flu.
A vaccine can also never assure 100 percent protection against swine flu virus.
"Vaccination is important for healthcare workers not only for personal protection but also for the protection of other patients who are not infected with swine flu that these doctors are dealing with. For the general public, what is recommended is maintaining high level of hygiene and not mass vaccination," said Dr. Lalit Dar, Associate Professor, Microbiology team, AIIMS.
Medical experts suggest that those who are exposed to a large number of people, higher-risk groups like elderly people, pregnant women, children below the age of five, those with low immunity and those suffering from diabetes and hypertension can get vaccinated.
"We do not recommend vaccination for the general public. Healthcare workers are advised to be vaccinated because they are obviously at a higher risk of contracting the infection. Apart from those dealing with patients, those at hospital counters or workers exposed to a large number of people in crowded places can also get vaccinated," said Dr. V M Katoch, Director General, Indian Council of Medical Research.
"Even if a person is given a vaccine shot, it is effective in 70 percent of the cases. It usually takes between 7-14 days for the antibodies to form and the person to be immune to the virus. In a case in which the virus is rapidly spreading, getting vaccinated may not help," said Dr. Dar.