UK HealthCare

UHS Announces Delay in Hepatitis B Vaccine

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 31, 2010) The University of Kentucky's University Health Service (UHS) has been notified of a delay in the production and supply of the adult hepatitis B vaccine.

Currently, University Health Service has a limited supply of the vaccine to be reserved for emergency situations, said Jitana Benton-Lee, patient care facilitator at UHS. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a statement identifying a delay -- not a shortage -- in receiving the supply. Specifically, two manufacturers of the vaccine, Merck and GlaxoSmithKline, will be able to meet the demand for routine adult usage of the vaccine. However, shipment to facilities will vary.

UHS anticipates a shipment date of late October 2010. A second notification will be issued upon the receipt of the shipment of the adult vaccine. The delay only impacts the adult vaccine and the pediatric vaccine is available for students and staff 19 years and younger. Those eligible for the pediatric vaccine can call 323-APPT (2778) to schedule an appointment.

The hepatitis B vaccine is required by all UK health profession colleges. The colleges will be notified and students should follow the directions of their program, Benton-Lee said. 

Hepatitis B is a serious disease that affects the liver. It is caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). The virus is spread through contact with the blood or other body fluids of an infected person. A person can become infected through contact with a mother’s blood and body fluids at the time of birth; contact with blood and body fluids through breaks in the skin such as bites, cuts, or sores; contact with objects that could have blood or body fluids on them such as toothbrushes or razors; having unprotected sex with an infected person; sharing needles when injecting drugs; and being stuck with a used needle on the job.

For more information about the vaccine, please contact Benton-Lee at (859) 218-3234 or