HEPATITIS B VACCINE SHORTAGE: IMPLICATIONS AND ADVICE FOR CLINICAL PRACTICE
Public Health England publishes hepatitis B vaccine recommendations and dose sparing advice for pre and post exposure immunisation and boosting
Currently, hepatitis B vaccine is in short supply in the United Kingdom (UK); until normal vaccine supply resumes, health professionals should consider alternative vaccines, prioritisation and dose sparing.
Public Health England provides additional advice for healthcare workers providing information on hepatitis B vaccination for adults and children who travel abroad:
Public Health England. Hepatitis B vaccination in adults and children: temporary recommendations
Health Professionals are advised that this temporary advice is not absolute and requires some clinical judgement and a detailed individual risk assessment.
Advice is subject to change and will be updated as further information becomes available.
In addition, health professionals should note that the hepatitis B chapter of Immunisation against infectious disease (the Green Book) has been updated in light of the introduction of hexavalent combination vaccine (diphtheria/tetanus/acellular pertussis/ inactivated polio vaccine/Haemophilus influenzae type b/hepatitis B) into the routine infant immunisation programme from autumn 2017.
1. The IAMAT Stella & George Bryant Travel Medicine Scholarship
Location: London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), London, UK
Training dates: November 6-10, 2017.
Deadline for applications: August 18, 2017.
Description: This scholarship is given to a doctor or nurse from a country where travel medicine is an emerging specialty. Preference will be given to practitioners with knowledge in travel medicine.
2. The IAMAT Violet Williams Travel Medicine Scholarship
Location: Midrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
Course dates: May 16-20, 2018
Clinical observation dates: May 14-15, 2018
Deadline for applications: September 30, 2017
Description: This scholarship is given to a doctor or nurse from an African country. The scholar attends a five day travel medicine course offered by the South African Society of Travel Medicine (SASTM) and will participate in clinical observations for two days at the Travel Doctor clinic in Johannesburg.
ATOVAQUONE/PROGUANIL TO BE AVAILABLE TO PURCHASE WITHOUT PRESCRIPTION
A brand of anti-malaria tablet, previously available by prescription only, will shortly be available from pharmacies as an Over the Counter (OTC) medicine
Atovaquone/proguanil, a combination tablet that can be taken to prevent malaria, is currently available in branded and non-branded forms.
Following a public consultation process , the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has announced one named brand of atovaquone/proguanil as approved as an Over the Counter (OTC) medicine. This medicine will shortly be available through pharmacies without prescription and will be available to adults aged over 18, weighing more than 40kg, travelling to areas affected by malaria and where the malaria parasite is not resistant to the product ingredients .
Health professionals are reminded that pre-travel risk assessment is essential to tailor advice for an individual, including advice about malaria risk and options for medicine to prevent malaria.
BCG VACCINE AVAILABILITY
BCG supply has resumed for those who are eligible to receive vaccine
Public Health England has published an update on BCG vaccine supply and has concluded that there is currently sufficient stock to extend the offer of vaccine to all eligible groups including previously unvaccinated, tuberculin-negative individuals under 16 years of age who are going to live or work with local people for more than three months in a country where the annual incidence of TB is 40/100,000 or greater.
BCG vaccine is usually administered in specialist clinics where staff have the expertise and are familiar with administering the vaccine.
Further details about eligible groups and how to order vaccine is available in Vaccine Update July 2017.