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GPs warned yellow fever vaccine supplies are ‘limited’

GPs have been advised they may have to ration the use of yellow fever vaccine after the manufacturer reported delays in the supply of the vaccine lasting until next year.

Sanofi Pasteur MSD is currently experiencing a delay in the manufacturing process of yellow fever vaccine Stamaril, in a situation it says is likely to continue until January 2014.

Public Health England said it was aware of the problem, and that it was advising patients to check whether their local vaccination centre had adequate supplies of the vaccine before going there.

A spokesman for Sanofi Pasteur MSD said they had a ‘temporary manufacturing issue’ with Stamaril and that the company awaited the results of a ‘quality investigation’.

The spokesman added: ‘Sanofi Pasteur MSD expects the shortage in supply to last until January 2014. Sanofi Pasteur MSD is communicating with the MHRA and is also in touch with customers regarding the impact of the shortage in yellow fever vaccine supplies for the UK. We are working closely with the regulatory authority to find a solution.’

Public Health England said: ‘PHE is aware the yellow fever vaccination supplies are limited. As yellow fever vaccine can only be administered in registered yellow fever vaccination centres, we strongly advise health professionals advising travellers to check the National Travel Health Network and Centre website for the latest information on yellow fever. Travellers should consult their nearest yellow fever vaccination centre or check the NaTHNaC website for further advice.’

RCGP immunisation lead Dr George Kassianos said that the problems came as there was only one manufacturer of yellow fever vaccine and advised that rationing may be necessary.

He said: ‘Where there is shortage, and if we had to ration the vaccine, I would suggest we give priority to first-time vaccinees, as those who had a dose of this live vaccine before would almost certainly have adequate antibody to protect them from this infectious disease – one dose gives life-long immunity.’