TORONTO (Reuters) – A shortage of vaccine against Canada that protects against hepatitis A and B could hurt Canadian travel plans for the sun this winter.
Twinrix is often prescribed for people heading to southern destinations where there is an increased risk of becoming infected with viruses that attack the liver, but the vaccine is scarce for adults and children.
Hepatitis A is mainly transmitted through contaminated food and water. Most infected people recover completely without permanent damage to the liver, but in some cases the infection can lead to sudden hepatic failure.
Hepatitis B, a more serious disease, mostly transmitted through sex, can lead to a chronic infection that increases the risk of cirrhosis, liver failure and liver cancer.
Manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline says vaccine production is a complex process that can take 10 to 26 months, and product shortages can occur due to unexpected demand, supply chain disruptions or production problems.
GSK says Twinrix continues to have a limited supply, with ongoing efforts to replenish the market. But the company predicts that disruptions may continue until vaccine availability stabilizes.