Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation advice on the use of hepatitis B vaccines during supply shortages

Key Points

  • There is currently a shortage of the adult formulation of hepatitis B vaccines Engerix-B® (GlaxoSmithKline) and H-B-Vax-II® (Seqirus) in Australia. The shortage has impacted on private market supply.
  • Supply for the National Immunisation Program (NIP) has not been affected at this time, so the adult formulation of hepatitis B vaccines as part of the NIP expansion measure should continue as scheduled for all eligible individuals.
  • The substitute options that ATAGI recommends for adult hepatitis B vaccination in the event of unavailability of Engerix-B® or H-B-Vax-II®are as follows:
    1. Concurrent administration of two doses of the paediatric formulation of a hepatitis B vaccine (0.5mL per dose) – the doses can be administered at adjacent sites (≥2.5cm apart) on the same arm or separately with one dose in each arm; OR
    2. Administration of an adult dose of the combined hepatitis A and hepatitis B vaccine (Twinrix® (GlaxoSmithKline)) – there may be further dose requirements of hepatitis A-containing vaccine if protection against hepatitis A is also desired.

The original vaccination schedule should be maintained. While using the same brand product is preferable, use of the alternative brand product to complete the vaccination course is acceptable.

Please refer to the document below which provides clinical advice to assist in using alternate hepatitis B vaccines during supply shortages.

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Update on Zika virus recommendations

The Department of Health has recently updated its recommendations on prevention of the Zika Virus

The main change from the previously issued version of the advice is the period of abstinence/pregnancy deferral/safe sex for asymptomatic men, which increases from 8 weeks to 6 months.

The revised version of the advice and various fact sheets emphasise the availability of testing for couples/people who cannot wait the recommended time periods, noting the concerns about the consequences of delaying pregnancy in some instances.

Click here to see the recommentations


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