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Four African countries face lack of childhood rotavirus vaccine

Countries like Kenya, Tanzania, Senegal and Cameroon, in Africa, face shortages or lack of doses of the rotavirus vaccine, which makes it possible to prevent the infection that can be fatal for children. The problem comes after interruptions in the pharmaceutical company GSK, according to information from authorities close to the production heard by Reuters.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that up to 200,000 children die each year from the highly contagious infection, which is the leading global cause of severe gastroenteritis and dehydration in children under five.

Officials in Kenya, Tanzania, Senegal and Cameroon did not immediately respond to Reuters requests for comment.

GSK confirmed there is a shortfall of around 4 million doses of its Rotarix vaccine this year, down from 46 million to 42 million.

The British drugmaker had already cut its agreed deliveries by 10 million a year for the period 2022-2028, said Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.

GSK acknowledged the drop in supply and said it was looking at plans to address the shortfall.

“GSK communicated to Gavi earlier this year about manufacturing challenges that have led to an unplanned, short-term drop in Rotarix production to 2022, for which priority mitigation plans are fully in place,” said a spokesperson. GSK’s voice to Reuters.

GSK did not elaborate on the manufacturing issues or what plans were in place. Gavi said that in addition to the drop in Rotarix supplies in 2022, there will also be delivery delays.

A source close to the negotiations between the two parties said he understands that the delays are due to employee absences during the Covid-19 pandemic. GSK did not provide further details.

(With information from Natalie Grover and editing by Alexander Smith)

Source: CNN Brasil

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