Hepatitis B shortage in the UK

05 Dec 2017

We currently do not have any Hep B in stock for travel purposes due to the global shortage.  We have a limited supply which is for people who are at occupational risk within the UK subject to assessment

There is currently a shortage of Hepatitis B vaccine in the United Kingdom and across the world. At present, some vaccines are not available.

Because of this shortage, Public Health England have issued new temporary clinical guidelines to healthcare staff across the UK

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/hepatitis-b-vaccine-recommend...

The guidance aims to preserve the small amounts of Hepatitis B vaccine stocks left, by using doses sparingly for those who are at highest risk.

The National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) provides Hepatitis B immunisation recommendations for travellers. Risk for travellers is low although certain behaviours or activities put individuals at higher risk, particularly when these occur in areas where hepatitis B is more common. These behaviours and activities include:

• unprotected sex

• exposure to blood or blood products through occupation, such as healthcare work

• exposure to contaminated needles through injecting drug use, or as a result of accessing medical or dental care

• long stay travel

Because of this new temporary guidance, Hepatitis B vaccination may not be recommended for many travellers visiting a number of countries.

When you visit our clinics, the nurse/doctor will carry out a travel risk assessment with you and go through all the vaccines that are recommended for your trip, including whether Hepatitis B is recommended. 

 We cannot offer this service over the telephone or by email.

 A £20 appointment fee per person is charged if no vaccines/malaria tablets are bought on the day. This fee is waived if vaccines/malaria tablets are bought on the day.

What is Hepatitis B?

Hepatitis B is a viral infection of the liver transmitted by contact with the blood or body fluids of an infected person. The risk of contracting hepatitis B infection for most travellers is low. All travellers should also be reminded to avoid contact with blood and bodily fluids by:

• avoiding unprotected sexual intercourse

• using appropriate protective precautions where contact is unavoidable e.g. due to occupation

• avoiding tattooing, piercing and acupuncture (unless sterile equipment is used)

• not sharing needles or other injection equipment

• not sharing shaving equipment

Further information on Hepatitis B can be found here:

https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/factsheet/50/hepatitis-b