Measles jab shortage warned
The Federal Government has been warned of measles vaccine shortages.
Pharmaceutical manufacturer and primary supplier GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) says a “supply constraint” is impacting on its ability to provide Priorix Tetra and Priorix to the National Immunisation Program and to non-government customers.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has warned that the supply issues are expected to continue until October.
Reports say GPs across the country are being forced to ration what they have left.
Professor Paul Kelly from the Federal Department of Health say there is an alternative vaccine supplier.
“Supplies for the vaccine immunisation program, which supplies free vaccines to children aged 12 months and 18 months, is completely secure,” he said.
“In terms of the private markets, so people for example who may be going overseas ... it's not as automatic as it has been previously, because of that issue with one of the suppliers.”
GlaxoSmithKline says it is “working with the Commonwealth Department of Health to ensure that an alternative vaccine will be available so children's immunisations won't be affected”.
The shortages relate to certain measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccines in Australia, both sponsored by GSK, but the health department says alternative options are available.
“Adequate supplies of measles-containing vaccines have been secured for the National Immunisation Program,” a department spokesperson said.
“Alternative MMR and MMRV remain available and consumers may wish to discuss alternatives with their doctors.”
The company says the shortage is “due to provision of vaccine to measles outbreak control programs in a number of states and territories”.