Although vaccine shortages happen sometimes, they are usually brief and usually only affect one vaccine at a time.
Shortages rarely leave kids unprotected and fortunately don’t lead to outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases – thanks to already high levels of vaccination.
In some cases, shortages have led to temporary changes in the immunization schedule for some vaccines, especially for children who are not high risk for those vaccine-preventable diseases.
Currently, there are shortages or limited supplies of:
- hepatitis B vaccines from Merck (pediatric monovalent hepatitis B vaccine)
- hepatitis A vaccines (because of the hepatitis A outbreaks and increased demand)
- Shingrix vaccine (high demand)
Unlike past shortages, most vaccine shortages these days are limited and don’t result in missed doses.
History of Vaccine Shortages
Past shortages have included:
- DTaP, MMR, Prevnar, Td and Varivax shortage (2002)
- Prevnar shortages (2001-2004)
- Typhoid shortage (2005)
- Menactra (2006)
- Hib (2008-2009)
- Hepatitis B vaccine for adults (2009-2011)
- Kinrix (2007) – DTaP-IPV combination vaccine
- ProQuad (2007-2012) – MMR-Varicella combination vaccine
- Adacel (2013) – Tdap vaccine
- Pentacel delay (December 2015 through 2016)
- Td – November 2016
And there have also been several flu vaccine shortages and delays.