Travellers who are fleeing the British winter gloom for more exotic climes are facing a scramble to get their Typhoid jabs as there is currently a major shortage of the vaccine that is needed to protect holidaymakers from this disease that is potentially fatal. The NHS usually provides immunisation against typhoid free of charge but GP’s across the country are reporting that they have run out of the vaccine and even the travel clinics which charge for the service have none of the vaccine left.
This shortage has come about as a direct effect of the recall made by Sanofi Pasteur MSD in October of 16 batches of the Typhim Vi injectable Typhoid vaccine, which equated to 88% of its stock. There was a warning released at the time stating anyone given the vaccine between 7th January 2011 and the recall date could be affected, which according to the MHRA, Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Service could be as many as 729,606 people.
Despite the problems with the supply of the vaccine, the Health Protection Agency has said there were fewer cases of Typhoid recorded in the UK during 2012 than in any of the previous 3 years. A spokesman from Sanofi Pasteur has said that the stock of Typhim Vi remain in short supply and this is expected to continue into the first quarter of 2013.
This shortage hasn’t been helped any by by decision taken last year by GlaxoSmithKline, who also used to manufacture injectible vaccines for Typhoid, to concentrate their efforts on making products to be used in childhood vaccination programmes on a global scale, which the WHO, World Health Organisation, rates as a higher priority. Due to this, GSK have said that they won’t have any injectible Typhoid vaccine available until the 2nd quarter of 2014 at the earliest.