Shortage of Measles and Hepatitis Vaccines
A shortage of Measles and Hepatitis B vaccines is currently being experienced across South Africa.
In July a batch of the Hepatitis B vaccine failed quality assurance testing at the National Control Laboratory (NCL). Unfortunately the supplier did not have back-up supply, which resulted in the shortage. 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.
Western Cape Minister of Health, Theuns Botha, says: "`The poor stock management at national government level is an indication of poor management and our patients suffer as a result. We are looking at alternative ways to address the problem."
The Head of Department of Health in the Western Cape, Prof Craig Househam has raised the matter with the National Department of Health and we are awaiting feedback.
Western Cape Government Health has been allocated 4 430 vials of the Hepatitis B vaccine, which is expected to be released soon, however, the back-order amount for healthcare facilities in the province currently stands at 18 480. As an interim arrangement Hepatitis B and Measles Vaccines are being re-distributed between facilities to maintain the availability of vaccines at all facilities for aslong as possible.
The Western Cape Government apologises for any inconvenience caused and assures the public that we are doing our best to ensure that supplies of these vaccines return to normal. We will keep the public informed of developments in this regard. We would also like to encourage parents to keep in contact with local healthcare facilities to ensure that their children are immunized when stock levels are restored.