In a recent interview with ENCA, the Department of Health advised pregnant women, elderly, and healthcare workers should get vaccinated as a precaution. They expressed that they would like people from these vulnerable groups, in particular, to get the flu vaccine as part of the coronavirus precautions. But after many calls to various clinics and pharmacies, it seems there is a lack of stock when it comes to the flu vaccine.
A call to Helderkruin Clinic on the West Rand and we were given feedback that the vaccine is finished and has been finished last month already. A call to a Clicks store and their head office we receive feedback that they do not have stock. The situation was the same when we put a call through to several a Dis-Chem pharmacies.
Also Read: Vaccines: Everything you need to know
According to the Ministry of Health spokesperson Popo Maja, “The viral strains used in the vaccines are amended every year. Hence the quantities of vaccines produced by manufacturers are finite and allocations are made to each country based on their demand. These vaccines cannot be used in subsequent years and therefore there is a constrained global production. There are 4 vaccine suppliers in South Africa. The following three companies service the private sector: Glaxo SmithKline, Abbot, and Sanofi Pasteur. The public sector supplier is Kahma Biotech. In March this year, guidelines were issued by the National Department of Health on the use of vaccines. Unfortunately, the volume of vaccines received in both public and private sectors when used in compliance with these guidelines is unable to cover the demand. This has resulted in supply challenges.”