Following the announcement last week of a shortage of Measles and Hepatitis B vaccines across South Africa, the Western Cape medicine stock unit has received the vaccines. The stocks are currently being delivered to all health facilities in the province. Western Cape Minister of Health, Theuns Botha, said: "All our facilities should have their vaccine stocks replenished by Wednesday so that they can cope with the backlog."
The recent shortage of these vaccines resulted when a batch of the Hepatitis B vaccine failed quality assurance testing at the National Control Laboratory (NCL) in July and the supplier did not have back-up supply. The manufacturer also reported that there was a delay in the production of the Measles vaccine, which was caused by international Mass Polio and Measles campaigns increasing the demand for the product.
As an interim arrangement, Western Cape Government Health was re-distributing Hepatitis B and Measles Vaccines between facilities to maintain the availability of vaccines at all facilities for as long as possible.
However, this shortage has now been addressed due to the arrival of the new stock of vaccines.
Measles can cause blindness, deafness or brain damage. The first sign is a high fever, followed by a blotchy red rash all over the body. It is also accompanied by cough, a runny nose and red eyes.
Hepatitis is a viral infection of the liver. There are several types of viral hepatitis infections, namely, A, B, C, D, E, F and G. The most common symptoms are loss of appetite, fatigue, fever, body aches, nausea and vomiting, and stomach pain. In more serious cases patients may have dark urine, light coloured bowel movement and yellowing of skin or eyes (jaundice).