July 6, 2020

Health centers run out of chickenpox vaccine for two weeks – La Provincia

The health centers of the Islands will remain for the next two weeks without being able to vaccinate chickenpox. A specific problem in the production chain of the Varivax vaccine – from the MSD pharmaceutical company – has caused the health center stock to remain at a minimum and there are only enough doses left to cover the most urgent cases. In any case, as the Directorate of Public Health recalled, it is not a serious problem nor does it have a significant impact on the population, since it is enough that the appointment to vaccinate your baby at 15 months is delayed by two weeks , when it is expected to restore supply.

This problem has been affecting the Canary Health Service (SCS) for "several days" as reported by Amós García Rojas, head of the Epidemiology and Prevention section of the General Directorate of Public Health of Canary Government. To chickenpox, according to health professionals, several other vaccines have been added that have been suffering from punctual supply failures for some time.

The problem has been solved by the health professionals themselves who have been making specific orders to other centers. These obstacles in the vaccine supply, according to the head of epidemiology "will be less and less extraordinary." "With fewer vaccine producers in the world – there are only two of chickenpox – it is a complex process and, given the low price of vaccines, it is possible that it affects us again," said García Rojas.

In any case, as he insisted, "these types of setbacks are easily solvable." Specifically, in the case of Varivax, a vaccine consisting of live attenuated varicella viruses, is supplied in the Canary Islands to children aged 15 months and 12 years.

In addition, at three years, health injected into children a "combined product", known as tetra-viral vaccine, which has antigens of four different viruses: measles, rubella, mumps and chickenpox.

This product is not currently lacking, so if the problem is postponed for a longer time, the Administration could take the consideration of acquiring different strategies to deal with the problem. "If necessary, we could provisionally vaccinate babies 15 months with the tetra-viral vaccine," says Amós García Rojas.

"Up to two years"

According to the Administration, the reason for punctual shortages in the Canary Islands is due to a distribution problem. As the pharmacist affirmed and the Spanish Agency for Medicines and Health Products (Aemps) notes, the depletion is not widespread throughout the country.

The president of the Spanish Association of Vaccination (AEV), recalled that vaccines "are not drugs", so their production is not similar. "When a drug is missing it can be replenished quickly, but a vaccine, being a biological product, can take up to two years to finish producing," he said, and recalled that this "slow" production is just what it confers " Safety "to the product.

In any case, he insisted that "it is not an urgent medication." That is, if the vaccination must be carried out in a specific month, the child can receive it in those 30 days. If it is scheduled in a specific year, you can receive it within the next 365 days. In addition, as he recalled "there are still some doses to supply certain profiles."

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