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As the World Is Hit with Vaccine Shortages, Will This Mosquito-Borne Virus Find Its Way to Asia?

OCT 13, 2017 | KRISTI ROSA
Brazil is not the only country that is experiencing vaccine shortage, the United States is as well. In past coverage, Contagion® reported on the shortage that occurred unrelated to the international global shortage. While moving from one vaccination facility into another, doses of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-licensed yellow fever vaccine (YF-VAX) were lost. Because of the shortage, an alternate yellow fever vaccine (Stamaril), not yet licensed, is available under the FDA’s investigational new drug (IND) protocol. Although it is currently available in the United States, there is a limited supply, and thus, fewer locations have it as compared with the many locations that once held the YF-VAX.

One big change regarding yellow fever vaccination occurred in July 2016, when WHO no longer required individuals to get re-vaccinated every 10 years. “The WHO said that a single dose—for the great majority of people—gives lifelong immunity,” Dr. Lucey explained. “That’s a major change, and it’s certainly good news, especially now that there are shortages of the yellow fever vaccine.”

Taking such shortages into consideration, and looking to the future Dr. Lucey and his colleagues called for the following:
  • Stockpiling of yellow fever vaccine for Asia
  • Initiating studies to test new technologies, such as cell culture- or DNA-derived vaccines
  • Asking the Coalition on Epidemic Preparedness Innovation to prioritize yellow fever vaccine production
“I would argue that a clear and present danger, a predictable catastrophe, is yellow fever coming to Asia. So, we should take all the countermeasures now, including stockpiling the vaccine,” Dr. Lucey concluded.
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