Tuesday, December 7th, 2021

As the pandemic raises awareness, more Indians are opting for “expensive” flu shots.

Since a devastating second wave of COVID-19 brought the nation’s healthcare system to its knees earlier this year, demand for flu vaccines has risen as a result of the pandemic. 

Vaccinations against influenza are not widely used in the country due to a lack of awareness, access, and high costs, and they are not included in the center’s universal immunization program, which also includes polio, tuberculosis, and Hepatitis B. 

Despite this, more than 1,000 shots were administered at Manipal Hospital’s sites in Bengaluru’s tech hub between July and September, compared to around 3,000 for the entire year last year, according to the healthcare provider. 

“At first, everyone thought that if you got flu vaccines, COVID-19 wouldn’t affect you too much,” said Dr. Ram Shankar Mishra, director of internal medicine at Max Super Specialty Hospital in Saket, New Delhi. 

Mr. Mishra added that demand has increased even as COVID-19 vaccinations have gained traction. 

According to Reuters, Apollo Hospitals and Fortis Healthcare are seeing increased demand for flu shots, including Abbott India’s imported vaccine, Influvac. 


However, the cost of these shots ranges between 1,500 and 2,000 Indian rupees ($20-$27), making them out of reach for the majority of India’s population. According to World Bank data, the country’s per capita income in 2020 was $1,900. 

The pandemic-fueled surge has fueled optimism that demand will remain strong. 

“I’ll be happy to see if the market grows, and I believe it will because a lot of people have become aware of the influenza vaccine in the last two years,” said Dr. Lalit Kant, former head of the Indian Council of Medical Research’s epidemiology and communicable diseases division. 

As the pandemic raises awareness, more Indians are opting for “expensive” flu shots.

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