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‚ÄčNational shortage of anti-cancer vaccine causing delays

May 9, 2018

National shortage of anti-cancer vaccine causing delays

Last year we celebrated the news that PHARMAC were extending the vaccination campaign against the HPV virus to include boys and were increasing the age range to include up to 27-year olds. This year we are unable to get supplies.

This vaccine is an anti-cancer vaccine, and protects against cervical, penile, anal and head and neck cancers, but also protects against genital warts. The human papilloma virus, which is sexually transmitted, is now so widespread, youngsters have an 80% life time risk of encountering it.

For good immunity against HPV, either 2 or 3 injections are required over a 6-month time frame, dependent at your age at the start of the course.

The bad news is that there is a shortage of vaccines available, and currently the only people being vaccinated are the 12-year olds in school.

The vaccine is manufactured by Merck, and last year they were victims of the Petya Cyberware attack. This has lead to chaos for the drug manufacturer, and they have had to halt supply of the HPV vaccine, Gardasil.

Just like all the other medical centres in New Zealand we have been unable to access any supply of Gardasil for several months, however, the distributors have indicated that they plan to resume supply in September.

For those who have had one or two vaccinations already, do not worry, there is no need to start the course again. We will contact you when we have supplies and you can just complete the course.

For those who want to start the course of vaccination, please just let our nurses know and as soon as we have supplies we will contact you. If you are turning 27 years of age prior to our supply becoming available, please contact us now. If you have expressed interest prior to your 27th birthday we hope that you will still be entitled to a free Gardasil vaccination course even if you are too old when it finally becomes available.

For those of you over 27 who wish to be vaccinated, this will not be funded but is possible to purchase when supplies resume. Talk with your Medplus doctor to see if it is suitable for you.