Varicella vaccine
(Photo: iStock)

Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has issued a supply notification for Varicella vaccine (live) powder and solvent for suspension/solution for injection 0.5ml vials (Varivax and Varilrix) until mid-October.

AAH have put quotas in place for GPs to limit the ordering of Varilrix and safeguard supplies during this shortage. To override this quota or obtain stock in any other primary care setting (including community pharmacy) a prescription will be required.

To obtain stock through the prescription validation system pharmacy will have to contact AAH Quota Management Customer Care team:

  • Online or by logging into AAH Point then choose Additional Services and select Quotas.
  • The pharmacy should follow the steps and fill in the required information including their email address.
  • The pharmacy can also call: 0344 561 8899 and select option 3 (quota)
  • The pharmacy will need to have the prescription details available
  • The AAH team will review the request and follow the guidance provided below to validate the prescription and approve the order.

Since varicella infection is so common in childhood, 90% of adults raised in the UK are immune. Varicella is seasonal with annual incidence peaking in spring months between March to May. Specific groups are at higher risk of complications from varicella.

This includes immunocompromised individuals, neonates and pregnant women. The current UK selective programme aims to protect those at highest risk of severe disease from exposure.

In light of the current supply shortages of varicella vaccines, the UKHSA recommends prioritising available stock for those at greatest risk from severe disease. In the current situation, varicella vaccine should be restricted to the following groups:

  1. Susceptible child household contacts of immunocompromised individuals
  2.  Susceptible adult household contacts of immunocompromised individuals
  3. Non-immune healthcare workers working with severely immunosuppressed patients (as defined in the Green book)



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