Chickenpox Vaccine

littlegirlscaredMerck and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) have been struggling with a shortage of the chicken pox vaccine. The latest shortage has been tracked to GSK’s production plant.

GSK has stopped worldwide deliveries of two vaccines manufactured at the facility after discovering quality problems with some batches.

The two affected vaccines both contain the chickenpox component, Varilrix which protects against the common childhood illness and Priorix-Tetra which covers measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR).

Why Is There A Shortage?

The company needs to reallocate its 2014 supply of Varilix and Priorix-Tetra because of manufacturing problems at their plant in Wavre, Belgium.

GSK uncovered a manufacturing issue that involved some varicella containing vaccine batches that were not meeting GSK’s criteria and standards.

It is unknown if any other countries have been affected by this manufacturing problem. However, doctors from Germany are being recommended to ration the use of both vaccines.

Robert Perry, director of external communications of GSK, said, “As a pre-cautionary measure, the final release of all varicella containing vaccines has been put on hold until a complete test and analysis to identify the root of the problem.”

What About The Vaccines Already Distributed?Chicken Pox Vaccine

A U.K. spokesperson for GSK said, “We’re committed to resolve this supply distribution situations as soon as possible and are actively involved in keeping regulatory authorizes and customers informed as we look to minimize the impact of this temporary supply disruption.”

Healthcare regulators have issued guidelines to physicians to deal with these shortages. Germany’s federal agency for infectious diseases and its vaccination agency say the vaccines that have already been delivered are safe.

GSK’s advice to doctors includes using MMR vaccines instead of MMRV for initial shots, and delaying booster jabs.

The drug maker said it would not resume deliveries until the cause of the problem was identified, however GSK is expected to resume deliveries during the second quarter.




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