Shingles Vaccine Zostavax Rush Sparks Shortage in Three States in Australia


Elderly Australians have embraced the subsidised shingles vaccine to the point where there’s a shortage in three states, the distributor has confirmed.

At least 190,000 people have been vaccinated since 1 November when Zostavax (Seqirus, MSD) was rolled out for 70- to 79-year-olds under the National Immunisation Program.

Victoria, South Australia and Queensland have been experiencing shortages but new stock will be distributed this week, according to Dr Lorna Meldrum, Seqirus vice-president commercial operations, Asia Pacific.

The manufacturer, Merck, is giving priority to fulfilling Australian demand, she says.

“Merck … are working to expedite further doses beyond the originally planned shipments,” Dr Meldrum says.

She says 110,000 doses were expected to arrive in Australia this week.

It’s expected about one-third of the 1.5 million Australians eligible under the NIP will be vaccinated by Christmas, whereas modelling by Seqirus and the federal health department suggested this goal would not be reached until after about eight months.

The health department says there’s been an “unexpected rush” on the vaccine, draining reserve stocks.

“The Department of Health is closely monitoring the company and its progress in supplying more vaccine as a matter of priority,” a department spokesperson says.

Meanwhile, Seqirus has put a planned TV marketing campaign on ice for fear of exacerbating the shortage.

3 Responses

  1. angela coral eisenhauer says:

    OMG they obviously didnt read the fine print, just read the FREE. It works in less than 50% to stop shingles, it works in ONLY 30% to stop singles pain. You WILL be sick for at least four days, you WILL shed chicken pox to kids, so stay away from grandkids, the list goes on……………….. that isnt listing the side effects! IT DOESNT WORK< even the manufacturer says it doesnt work. If they say it works in UP to 50%, that means it dont work.

  2. angela coral eisenhauer says:

    Oh well I am in Western Australia, where my gp seems to have put up a sign WITH THE TRUTH, so WA doesnt have a shortage………….. OMG they trying to kill everyone over age 70………. and blatantly.

  3. jonathan harris says:

    The promotion of this shingles vaccine by Australian Health Minister Susan Ley came exactly 2 days after it was reported that Merck admitted this vaccine actually causes shingles and keratitis. Ley was all overt the evening news pushing its benefits. Why weren’t the public warned of its devastating side effects?
    This seem a typical pattern now, that as soon as anything negative about vaccines comes out, mainstream media hides it but the government propaganda kicks in big time. They call this responsible government.

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