Healthcare institutions complain of shortage of chicken pox vaccine

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Muscat - 

Many private hospitals and pharmacists have been complaining about the shortage of chicken pox vaccine, Varilrix. 

However, a healthcare institution has said that there is no need to worry as it has received fresh stock after a gap of few weeks. Common among children, chicken pox is a viral disease that causes itchy, spotty rash or fluid-filled blisters.

KIMS Oman Hospital recently got fresh stock after a gap of several weeks. “There have been some issues with the agent as it is the sole distributor of the vaccine. However, we received the stock recently after a few days of shortage,” said the hospital.

An official from Muscat Pharmacy, the sole supplier of the vaccine in the country said in an email that this is the first time that it has faced such a shortage. “The hospitals and clinics approved by the Ministry of Health for immunisation in the private sector have been affected.

“There is a shortage of chicken pox vaccine with the manufacturer GSK and hence it is unable to supply this vaccine to Oman. GSK has said that as of now the best availability date is December.” An official from the vaccine department at Al Hayat International Hospital said that it too has been awaiting fresh stock of Varilrix from the supplier.

“There has been a shortage of the vaccine for the past few weeks and we had to send back some patients due to unavailability. We have ordered for the vaccine but haven’t received it yet,” the official said. Badr al Samaa Hospital also confirmed that it has been facing shortage for the past few months now.

“There is also a shortage in vaccines for Hepatitis A and typhoid along with chicken pox,” an official said. Chicken pox is a contagious illness and precaution must be taken with proper medication and isolation. The average price of one chicken pox vaccine is RO25.

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