MENINGO­COC­CAL VAC­CINE SHORT­AGE:

BAT­TLE TO MEET BIG DE­MAND

Wanneroo Times - - Front Page - Mark Don­ald­son

LO­CAL chemists are con­tin­u­ing to strug­gle to meet par­ents’ de­mands for the meningo­coc­cal B vac­cine, with lat­est es­ti­mates sug­gest­ing a global short­age won’t be re­solved un­til July.

De­mand for the in­jec­tion, known as Bexsero, be­gan out­strip­ping sup­ply last year.

In Novem­ber, man­u­fac­turer Glax­oSmithK­line ex­pected avail­abil­ity to im­prove in Aus­tralia by Jan­uary.

But stock for sub­ur­ban chemists re­mained scant.

“We are still ex­pe­ri­enc­ing in­ter­mit­tent stock-outs of the meningo­coc­cal B vac­cine as de­liv­er­ies come in and then are de­pleted quickly to fill back or­ders,” a spokes­woman said.

“This may con­tinue un­til sup­ply and de­mand reach a more sta­ble state, which is es­ti­mated midyear.”

Kin­ross Phar­macy man­ager Sar­rah Sid­diqui said the whole­saler had been “slowly dis­tribut­ing” the vac­cine to com­mu­nity phar­ma­cies.

Wanneroo Com­mu­nity Phar­macy re­ceived a new ship­ment late last month, while Clini­care in Alki­mos had four boxes left last week.

Par­ents have been ad­vised to get a pre­scrip­tion for the in­jec­tion and put their name on an or­der list at their lo­cal phar­macy so they re­ceive it as soon as it comes in.

There are five meningo­coc­cal strains: A,B, C, W and Y.

The Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment of­fers a free meningo­coc­cal C vac­cine but the B va­ri­ety is not part of the na­tional im­mu­ni­sa­tion scheme.

The WA Gov­ern­ment be­gan a free im­mu­ni­sa­tion pro­gram for teenagers aged 15 to 19 cov­er­ing the A,C, W and Y strains in Jan­uary.

The meningo­coc­cal B vac­cine still comes at a cost to par­ents, who pay be­tween $120 and $140 per jab.

The deadly in­fec­tion has struck five peo­ple in 2017, with three cases of type W, one of B and an­other that could not be de­ter­mined. Three West Aus­tralians died from the ill­ness last year.

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