Plan ahead to avoid shortage
THERE IS MORE TO TRAVELLING OVERSEAS THAN JUST PICKING A PLACE AND BOOKING TICKETS
In the past two weeks I’ve had so many needles jabbed into my arms I’m starting to feel like a pin cushion.
A recent decision to travel overseas to Sri Lanka has seen the need for me to get vaccinated against certain diseases such as typhoid fever and hepatitis B.
Plus I also needed to renew my tetanus so I could be covered against illnesses like tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough.
During my vaccination marathon I’ve encountered only one hurdle and that’s getting the hepatitis B vaccine.
This is given in three stages and right now I’m on an accelerated program.
I was given one injection and then seven days later got the second jab and in three weeks time I’ll get the third and final dose.
The problem with getting the hepatitis B vaccine for adults at the moment is that it’s in short supply.
When I was given the script for it I phoned several chemists to find out if they had it in stock and I was told from each person they had not had it for months.
According to the Hepatitis Australia website, hepatitis B is the most common liver infection in the world and enters the body and travels to the liver through the bloodstream.
You can contract it through blood or sexual contact and the vaccine is often recommended to travellers as a precaution.
In the end I had to go back to my doctors to get the vaccine and was told by them that I was not the first patient to be referred back.
Turns out the hepatitis B supply shortage was not limited to Shepparton but Australia.
The supplier, GlaxoSmithKline Australia, stated on its website manufacturing of the vaccine was temporarily halted as a precaution.
‘‘Production is now back to normal however it will take time to re-build capacity,’’ the statement said.
‘‘At this stage we are unable to confirm a re-supply date.’’
GlaxoSmithKline Australia went on to say Engerix-B paediatric dose was still available as was the Twinrix combined hepatitis A and B vaccine.
This experience has taught me several things: if you’re planning to travel, organise your vaccinations early, before you book your flights and make sure you have your vaccination history ready for your doctor to read.
IF YOU’RE PLANNING TO TRAVEL, ORGANISE YOUR VACCINATIONS EARLY, BEFORE YOU BOOK YOUR FLIGHTS . . .
Bound for Sri Lanka: News journalist Sionnie Kelly is planning a trip to Sri Lanka. Pictured here is popular Sri Lankan tourist attraction the Sigiriya Rock.