Sector Release

Australia, 27 September 2017

The shortage of adult formulation Engerix-B® (hepatitis B vaccine) that Australia has experienced since November 2016, is expected to continue until at least January 2018.  A shortage of the alternative vaccine H-B-Vax-II® is also now being experienced due to an increase in demand for its use.

To date, there has been no effect on the supply of government funded vaccine, but the shortage has affected the private market supply for other individuals requiring hepatitis B vaccination e.g. healthcare workers, travellers.  The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation has recently provided updated advice on the use of hepatitis b vaccines. The advice is very clearly outlined for providers in a PDF, and outlined in the statement below: 

“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 Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) has developed further clinical advice for vaccination providers."

 

Download the Advice as a PDF

The clinical advice is in relation to recommended alternative vaccination strategies for adults requiring completion of hepatitis B vaccination and can be found here

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

 

The National Immunisation Program hepatitis B vaccination recommendations

Refer to the AUSTRALIAN IMMUNISATION HANDBOOK 10TH EDITION

 

The National Immunisation program recommends Hepatitis B vaccine for the following individuals:

  • Infants and young children
  • HIV positive and immunocompromised children
  • Adolescents
  • Catch up of children less than 8 years of age
  • Household or other close (household like) contacts of persons with hepatitis B
  • Sexual contacts of persons with hepatitis B
  • Migrants from hepatitis B endemic countries
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
  • Adult haemodialysis patients and patients with severely impaired renal function in whom dialysis is anticipated
  • Solid organ and haematopoietic stem cell transplant recipients
  • HIV positive adults and other immunocompromised adults
  • Persons with chronic liver disease and/or hepatitis C
  • Persons who inject drugs
  • Recipients of certain blood products
  • Persons with developmental disabilities
  • Inmates of correctional facilities
  • Sex industry workers
  • Persons at occupational risk
  • Travellers to hepatitis B endemic regions

 

The National Immunisation Program schedule

The National Immunisation Program schedule can be accessed via the Immunise Australia website.

Check the information relating to individual state and territory immunisation programs and schedules to determine who is eligible for a funded hepatitis B vaccine by accessing via the following links:

 

Direct further queries to your local Public Health Unit

Please refer all queries regarding supply of hepatitis B vaccination to your local Australian Public Health Unit via the links below