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Global Shortage of Hepatitis A Vaccines including the UK

28 Sep 2017

28 September 2017
There are currently constraints on the supply of hepatitis A containing vaccines due to a global shortage. As a result healthcare practitioners across the UK have been issued with temporary recommendations on use of hepatitis A containing vaccines, including dose sparing advice. This is to preserve hepatitis A vaccine stock for those at highest immediate need.

The vaccine shortage is likely to continue for some time and we are likely to completely run out quite soon; some centres and GP practices have already run out.

Hepatitis A is an acute infection of the liver and is a public health problem particularly in areas where sanitation is poor including Africa, India, China, South and Central America and Southeast Asia.

It is spread through contaminated water and food, especially shellfish or through person to person contact where personal hygiene is poor (faecal-oral route). Further information on Hepatitis A is available.

Advice for Travellers
Travellers are advised to seek a travel health consultation for individual risk assessment from a suitably qualified healthcare professional 6 – 8 weeks prior to their trip.

Prevention is focused on food and water precautions and practising meticulous hand and personal hygiene to reduce the risk of hepatitis A infection. This is particularly important when vaccine cannot be obtained. Detailed risk management advice can be found via following links:
• Food and Water Precautions
Water Purification