Government reacts as vaccines run low
Government is working to combat vaccine shortages after supplies of several vaccines have run low.
The Health Department has encountered shortages of five types of vaccine, and according to doctors only recently received a sixth vaccine after several months without it.
Among the vaccines in short supply are Pentacel/ Pentaxim, Adacel, Hepatitis B Paediatric, Gardasil and PPD.
A spokesman for the Department of Health acknowledged that there has been a shortage of five different vaccines, but said they are working on remedying the situation.
“The reasons for the relative shortages vary depending on the vaccine and the Department is working to identify the root cause of each shortage and to rectify it,” the spokesman said.
“As we analyse the current situation, we will surely identify imperfections in our system of projection of need, response to fluctuations in demand, and ordering.
“These will be addressed. Unfortunately, this present situation cannot be remedied instantaneously as some obstacles are outside the control of the Department.”
In the case of Adacel, he stated that a change in immunisation recommendations and a worldwide production shortage has caused the Health Department to prioritise usage of the vaccine. Demand for Gardasil has also reportedly doubled in the last year, and the Department is awaiting an order placed last month.
Asked when the issues may be resolved, the spokesman said the Department cannot confirm arrival dates until information is provided by the supplier.
In a recent Facebook post, one local doctor criticised the Health Department for the vaccine shortfalls.
“I have received an e-mail from the Chief Medical Officer saying the shortages are due to increased usage of the vaccines — however there have been no recent changes in the vaccine schedule that would cause such a significant shortage,” he wrote.
“As well, the birth rate for the Island is well known or easily obtainable, and with just a fairly recent census done, we should have a fairly good idea how many children there are on the Island.
“Certainly a statistician should be able to figure this out. My concern obviously is that your children could be at increased risk if their immunisation are delayed significantly.”
The doctor wrote that a “minimal supply” of Pentaxim and Adacel had been brought in, but only for clinic patients.