Temporary Shortage of Child Vaccine Nationwide

The vaccine is called Pentacel and in CT, 4 doses are required for 19 month olds

Image
Vaccine Shortage Nationwide
Photo:Courtesy of Flickr CC by Sanofi Pasteur
Temporary Vaccine Shortage Nationwide
Download Audio
Audio Playlist
Temporary Vaccine Shortage Nationwide

Connecticut requires almost a dozen immunizations by the time a child enters school.  As WNPR's Lucy Nalpathanchil reports there's a temporary shortage of one particular vaccine.

The vaccine is called Pentacel and it's a combination vaccine that protects children from several different diseases.
 
Diptheria, Tetanus, Pertussis, Polio and Meningitis. Four doses are required before a child turns nineteen months old. 
 
But if your child is due for his or her next dose of Pentacel, it may not be available.
 
"We were notified by the CDC two weeks ago that there's a temporary shortage of Pentacel."
 
That's Mick Bolduc, Coordinator of Vaccines for Children at the state Department of Public Health. When the CDC issues an alert due to a manufacturing shortage, the health department notifies more than six-hundred providers who order the vaccine through the state. The state then sends the orders to the national distributor for the east coast, McKesson, which ships the vaccine directly to a doctor's office.
 
Parents won't find out about the shortage until they bring their child to his or her scheduled appointment. Bolduc says there is an alternative to Pentacel. 
 
"They can ask for the single vaccines. So there's a separate vaccine for Diptheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis. A separate vaccine for polio and a separate vaccine for Hib."
 
The drawback in asking for separate vaccines is your child will get three different shots instead of one.  Parents should also find out if their son or daughter can wait until their next wellness visit to get Pentacel.
 
But the shortage is expected to last throughout the summer. 
Bolduc says the CDC anticipates Pentacel won't be back to a full supply until September.