Kenya facing BCG vaccine shortage

May 16, 2012 1:25 pm
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In Kenya, BCG vaccine is administered within the first two weeks of birth/ FILE
NAIROBI, Kenya, May 16 – The government has confirmed a severe shortage of the BCG vaccine that protects children against tuberculosis.

The Head of Immunisation at the Ministry of Public Health Tatu Kamau said the vaccine has been out of stock for the last one month.

She however revealed that the country was expecting a consignment later in the week from the United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, to last the next three months.

“The shortage is global and is caused by production delays,” she told Capital FM News.

She said the vaccine is manufactured in Denmark, India and Indonesia.

In Kenya, BCG vaccine is administered within the first two weeks of birth but Kamau said children up to the age of five were eligible for the vaccine.

According to the World Health Organisation, BCG vaccine has a documented protective effect against meningitis and disseminated TB in children.

Statistics by the National Leprosy and TB Programme indicate that children account for 11 percent of new TB infections every year.

Kenya is ranked 13 out of the 22 high TB burden countries worldwide.

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