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Medical Director News: Hepatitis B Vaccination Shortage

Medical Director News: Hepatitis B Vaccination Shortage

Earlier this year, we were informed that suppliers were experiencing a supply constraint of Adult Hepatitis B vaccine in Australia due to a precautionary interruption in the manufacturing process. This was not in any way due to safety or quality concerns with the vaccine that has already been administered, or with stock currently available. We subsequently realised that the shortage was global. Production is now back to normal, however it will take considerable time to build capacity again to a level that will meet our usual corporate demands.

In Australia, there are two suppliers of Hepatitis B vaccines. Lack of supply of one brand soon drains the stock of the other. As a result, Hepatitis B vaccine stocks are not expected to be available here until mid-2018.

Government Hepatitis B programs have not been affected by the shortage and the vaccine is still available through the National Immunisation Program for both children and adults, including hospital staff and others at special risk.

Travel Doctor-TMVC will prioritise our remaining stock of adult Hepatitis B vaccine, for  travellers at significantly increased risk of infection. Where available we will discuss the use of alternative products such as the combined vaccine and associated fee schedules with clients before proceeding. We will continue to strongly highlight strategies regarding Hepatitis B prevention in our travel medicine consultations.

If you have staff requiring Hepatitis B vaccinations in the coming months please contact you Travel Doctor-TMVC Client Partner. We will keep you updated of stock availability as we are informed.

Authors, Dr Sonny Lau, Dr Eddy Bajrovic and Ruth Anderson.