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PSNC logo high resAugust 9 2017

Pharmacy contractors are being reminded of the need to consider offering hepatitis B vaccine to staff who will be involved in the Flu Vaccination Service 2017-18.

PSNC raised the point in light of the global shortage of monovalent hepatitis B and combination hepatitis A/B vaccines. Public Health England issued temporary guidance earlier this week concerning the need to prioritise hepatitis B vaccine as stock supplies are affected.

In its advice to community pharmacy contractors in England, PSNC says those who are planning to offer the Flu Vaccination Service 2017-18 “must ensure that staff involved in the provision of this service are advised that they should consider being vaccinated against hepatitis B and be advised of the risks should they decide not to be vaccinated.”

PHE’s information about hepatitis B vaccine sets out how at-risk groups should be prioritised for vaccination, what steps other than vaccination can be considered, and what the vaccine options are. It also gives advice about stock availability and ordering as supplies are having to be managed closely.

In the UK, stock should be obtained from the manufacturers Merck Sharp & Dohme Limited (MSD) or GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), or from wholesalers. “If your usual vaccine cannot be obtained from your usual supplier / manufacturer try an alternative supplier and/or an alternative vaccine,” says PHE.

“To register to become a customer of GSK or MSD visit http://www.aah.co.uk/shop/en-GB/aahpoint/opening-an-aah-account or telephone the AAH Customer Services number: 0344 561 8899, stating which company you would like to place an order with.”

Doctors are being asked to carefully consider who they vaccinate, with the highest priority for post-exposure prophylaxis being infants born to infected mothers. “In general, the risk of acquiring infection from a significant exposure incident with a known infected source is higher than that from an unknown source or pre-exposure situations,” says PHE

Those providing the vaccine are also being asked to order stock only for immediate essential use and not to stock pile.

Links:
PSNC statement                 
PHE announcement         
PHE ‘Hepatitis B vaccination in adults and children: temporary recommendations from 4 August 2017’                  

 

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