Alert over possible varicella vax shortage

Australian supplies of two chicken pox vaccines could be disrupted by a global delivery problem, manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline has warned.

GSK has been forced to temporarily halt supply of its varicella (Varilrix) and MMR-varicella (Priorix-Tetra) vaccines, after batches in production overseas were found not to meet the company's manufacturing standards.

Existing Australian stock is unaffected and can continue to be used.

It is not yet clear exactly how the issue will affect supplies and what sort of shortfall, if any, will result in Australia, a spokeswoman said.

"We are working closely with relevant state and federal governments in Australia to manage existing supplies and minimise the impact of this disruption," she said.

Doctors in some European countries have been told to ration