Due to a global shortage of the hepatitis B vaccine caused by manufacturing problems, Public Health England has worked with the NHS, the Department of Health, and manufacturers to institute measures to ensure that the hepatitis B vaccine will continue to reach those at highest risk.
While supplies of the hepatitis B vaccine are limited, those at the highest immediate risk (based on their doctor’s assessment) will be prioritised for vaccination.
The risk of hepatitis B infection in the UK is very low, but the risk can be increased if patients are:
- having unprotected sex
- injecting drugs or sharing needles
- having tattoos, piercings, or acupuncture when overseas
- accessing medical or dental care in high prevalence countries.
Vaccination is still currently available to those who have already been exposed to hepatitis B and these people should seek urgent medical attention as infection can still be prevented if treated promptly after exposure.
Hepatitis B vaccination as part of the childhood immunisation schedule would go ahead as planned and would not be affected by the shortage.
For more information, visit the Public Health England website.