Hep A vax prioritised due to supply shortage

SUPPLIES of hepatitis A vaccine in Australia have been prioritised to “populations most at risk” as the global shortfall in supply continues.

“Pharmaceutical companies are giving priority for vaccines to those populations most at risk of… infection, including cohorts covered under the National Immunisation Program and travellers,” a TGA spokesperson said.

Merck Sharp & Dohme has reported production delays for its hepatitis A vaccine Vaqta, distributed in Australia by CSL, which have increased reliance on alternative products, including Avaxim (Sanofi Pasteur) and Havrix (GlaxoSmithKline).

“Due to competitor supply issues, there has been an increase in demand for hepatitis A vaccine since late 2010,” a GSK spokesperson said. GSK had been able to fill “most orders”.

CSL said as well as fulfilling NIP needs, it had been able to maintain supply of paediatric vaccine to children outside