The Hepatitis B and Hepatitis A vaccines are being imported from China

COVID-19 vaccinations for young children now expected to start later this month, and have a significant chance of being made available to the entire public by the end of May. This puts their arrival…

The Hepatitis B and Hepatitis A vaccines are being imported from China

COVID-19 vaccinations for young children now expected to start later this month, and have a significant chance of being made available to the entire public by the end of May. This puts their arrival in the UK in line with those of the older two (Hepatitis B and Hepatitis A) and measles vaccine, which also began late in March. So how can we get vaccines to our children as fast as possible?

A new vaccine can take 12 to 18 months, and the delay can be exacerbated by a whole spectrum of different factors ranging from production issues, to transport costs, to the time it needs to make it through the production process and for the final product to arrive in the right condition in Britain – it’s the time it takes to make sure that something that has been developed and tested in its new form, is ready to be delivered to you

For vaccines like the new Hepatitis B and Hepatitis A vaccines that are made up of three components (the new oral form is already in use in Europe) which, like the seasonal flu vaccine, need to be given in three doses, each of 14 days, a delay of the order of 18 months is inevitable – which may be exacerbated in cases of the new vaccine where the third dose will have to be given 3 months after first being given. The only way that we can be sure that we are getting the right version of the vaccine is by ensuring that the final production and quality control is carried out in the UK.

The Hepatitis B vaccine was developed in Britain, and the same approach and standards are likely to be applied to the Hepatitis A vaccine which is being imported from China.

This will not be the case for the three other vaccines that are under development: mumps, and measles, both of which are made in the US, and yellow fever, which is made in China.

The vaccine for yellow fever is imported from China also – this is currently under review, and the WHO has been calling for the vaccine to be ‘manufactured’ in the UK for the last week, with British companies expected to supply the vaccine, if the Chinese import ban is lifted.

This is yet another time

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