Shortage of chickenpox vaccine “no reason to panic”

By Drum Digital
26 February 2014

There’s been a shortage of chickenpox vaccine in South Africa for some time now but there’s no reason to panic because inoculation isn’t vital, Dr Balin Moodley from the Netcare travel clinic in Rivonia says.

The vaccine was introduced in 1995 but Dr Moodley says most people’s immune systems can fight the disease on their own. That’s if the person isn’t HIV-positive or has other diseases that weaken the immune system, such as diabetes.

The vaccine shortage apparently came about after renewed outbreaks of chickenpox in first world countries such as Spain, where it hadn’t occurred for years. “It could be the result of the economic meltdown, overpopulation or globalisation,” Dr Moodley says.

Greater demand has meant manufacturers can’t provide enough.

The vaccine is expected to be available in South Africa again in a few months’ time. .

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