Doctors lack vaccines

THERE has been a shortage of supply in vaccines necessary for vaccinating children younger than one year of age for at least the past six months.

Illustrative stock photoIllustrative stock photo (Source: SME)

Paediatricians therefore are unable to vaccinate children or have to postpone the fixed dates of vaccine schedules. The areas worst affected are the west, south and east of Slovakia, the Sme daily reported.

As a result, infants may become seriously ill, says Martin Olej, the Health Ministry’s expert in the welfare of children and young adults.

The problem came to light in spring earlier this year, Olej told Sme.

The problems are for instance with the priorix vaccine which is used against measles, mumps and rubella, and also infarinx-hexa against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, hepatitis B and invasive Haemophilus influenzae infections.

Most of the vaccines in short supply are produced by British company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). The reason for the shortage of vaccines may be due to the increased demand for them throughout Europe, said Pavol Trnovec, corporate affairs director at GSK. The same says the Health Ministry.

Another reason may be the sale of vaccines abroad, the Slovak Chamber of Pharmacists head Ondrej Sukeľ told Sme. Some pharmacies and distributors sell the vaccines to receive more money, according to the daily.

Hedviga Horváthová of Phoenix, one of the biggest medicine distributors in Slovakia, rejected this accusation, claiming that they meet the demands of pharmacies.

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