Merck HepB vaccine shortage extended; GSK has supply
MelissaJenco, News Content Editor
Merck’s pediatric hepatitis B vaccine Recombivax HB will be in short supply for the
remainder of the year.
However, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has an adequate supply of hepatitis B vaccine to make
up for the shortage, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
GSK produces single-component Engerix-B and the combination vaccine Pediarix.
The CDC and Academy continue to recommend routine vaccination against hepatitis B starting within 24 hours of birth for all healthy newborns with
a birth weight of at least 2,000 grams, followed by doses at 1-2 months and 6-18 months.
During Merck’s shortage, the CDC recommends prioritizing the birth dose and completion
of the infant series over child and adolescent catch-up vaccination unless those patients
are at risk for infection.
Last year, Merck said demand around the world and manufacturing process updates caused
the shortage of hepatitis B vaccine in both pediatric and adult formulations. The
company had expected to resume regular supply this month.
Hepatitis B is a liver infection that can be passed from a mother to her baby and is transmitted through blood or
body fluids . The CDC estimates 90% of infants infected with hepatitis B congenitally
or within the first year of life develop chronic infection.