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Superdrug: Hepatitis jab shortage has 'significant' effect

A global shortage of hepatitis A and B vaccinations is having a “significant effect” on patients in the UK, Superdrug has told C+D.

The shortage means patients looking for the vaccination will “often have to visit more than one establishment”, or “may be advised to delay vaccination, depending on their individual risks”, the multiple's service development manager Timothy Morgan told C+D on Monday (July 24).

“We are advising all patients of the shortages, so that they are able to make choices in regards to how they can source the vaccination in good time,” Mr Morgan said.

He stressed that the multiple is “focusing our stock on those at highest risk” and providing patients with “options as to where else they may be able to receive this vaccination”.

"We are told by manufacturers that a limited supply of hepatitis A vaccine may be available towards the end of July or start of August,” Mr Morgan added.

However, there is “little news regarding a firm date for an ongoing resolution”.

Shortage expected until early 2018

Manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) told C+D on Tuesday (July 25) it had been experiencing a reduced supply of hepatitis vaccines since June, which it expects to continue until "early 2018" due to a “global shortage of hepatitis A and B antigens”.

Public Health England (PHE) released temporary recommendations for hepatitis B vaccination suppliers last week (July 20), triggered by the “recent global shortages”.

The recommendations include dose sparing advice, to preserve hepatitis B vaccine stock for those at "highest immediate need", PHE said.

Community Pharmacy Scotland published a statement last month anticipating “constraints” on hepatitis A vaccines until August, while B vaccines will be “out of stock” from August 2017 until early 2018.

In May, PHE announced it was investigating a hepatitis A outbreak, with 266 cases identified in England between July 2016 and April 2017.

How have pharmacy services been affected?

Have your services been affected by the hepatitis vaccines shortage?

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