Low awareness and high costs meant that the uptake of these two vaccines was always low, but the trend has been positive since the onset of the pandemic, say specialists.
The uptake of flu and pneumonia shots, recommended for the elderly and those with low immunity, has increased dramatically in India over the last two years amid a rise in cases of pneumococcal sepsis being reported.
However, a project pushed for the government by the Association of Healthcare Providers of India (a body of private hospitals) to publicise adult vaccination and raise awareness in the general population on these vaccines has remained in limbo.
Pulmonologists and critical care specialists spread across the country say that unlike earlier times, when less than 30-40 percent of those recommended for vaccination actually received it, this number has gone up to 90 percent now.
“In comparison to the pre-COVID-19 era, more adults are now taking vaccines for influenza and pneumococcal disease,” said Dr Arjun Bhatnagar, consultant and interventional pulmonologist with Regency Health hospital in Lucknow.
“In fact, a number of people are visiting doctors on their own to ask if they should be vaccinated, which was unusual prior to the pandemic,” he said. “Others who have been urged by doctors to be vaccinated are less resistant than before.”