Shortage of vaccines for travelers

News 18 December, 2017
  • Photo Stevens LeBlanc
    “It is really a dual management, because we must find five people to be vaccinated at the same time, given that, when one splits a dose, it is not good that an hour,” says nurse Patricia Grimard, among Infirmia.

    Elisa Cloutier

    Monday, 18 December, 2017 01:00

    Monday, 18 December, 2017 01:00

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    Travel health clinics are scrambling to find doses of the vaccine of the yellow fever, so well that now they are split to accommodate a greater number of travellers, while the sole manufacturer in Canada is out of stock for over a year.

    The arrival of the snow will certainly want to several Quebec to go for a ride in the sun, but it will take at least three months in advance for the holiday destination of South America and Africa, where there is a potential presence of yellow fever.

    To cope with the shortage which has lasted for several months, the national Institute of public health of Quebec force the clinics to be split into five doses of vaccine YF-VAX yellow fever.

    The vaccine, however, is not effective as 12 months rather than life, with a full dose. This new way of doing cause a lot of headaches to the nurses, who must create groups of vaccination or, worse, may send patients to Montreal to get the vaccine.

    “We make groups of five people, who will all come at the same time be vaccinated, as when one opens a bottle, as it is good only 1 hour “, explains Patricia Grimard, clinical nurse at Infirmia. “There is a dose here and there, it really is not regular,” says his side Geneviève Cloutier, nurse at Health Care at GC.


    However, this vaccination is mandatory to enter in some countries of the middle belt of Africa and in the Amazon, in particular. The travellers late and business would be most affected by this shortage.

    “Some arrive here and ask to receive a full dose because they have to go at the last minute for work and know that they are going to have to go there often, in Africa, for example, but we can’t,” says Ms. Grimard, who states that the vaccine is effective 10 days after being administered.

    The cost of a fractionated dose runs around $ 130, while a full dose costs about $200.

    Breakage of machinery

    The manufacturer, Sanofi Pasteur, located in Ontario, says this shortage due to breakage of machinery which occurred in one of its production plants in the United States.

    A spokesperson for the pharmaceutical company, Maggie Wang Maric, has mentioned that the doses of yellow fever vaccine become available in Canada in ” late 2018 “.

    Typhoid fever

    • Travellers who would rather to Asia, Mexico, the dominican Republic, China and Cuba will also have to be patient if they want to be vaccinated against typhoid fever, which is caught in the water and the food. The injection doses of this vaccine are becoming more rare over the last few weeks.
    • The manufacturer Sanofi Pasteur states that the situation will be rectified in January.
    • Until then, travelers who do not have contra-indications can turn to the oral vaccine, which, however, is not available for children under five years of age.