Rabies Vaccine Supply Situation

Posted: April 1, 2009
Updated: May 15, 2009

syringe and vials of medicine

Current Situation

  • Novartis Vaccines has announced that RabAvert vaccine is available for both pre- and post-exposure prophylaxis, without any supply restrictions. Previously, due to supply limitations, this product was limited to post-exposure prophylaxis.
  • By current ACIP recommendations, pre-exposure vaccination should be considered for persons whose activities bring them into frequent contact with rabies virus or potentially rabid animals, such as veterinarians and their staff, animal handlers, rabies researchers, and certain laboratory workers. In addition, some international travelers may be candidates for pre-exposure vaccination if they are likely to come in contact with animals in areas where dog or other animal rabies is enzootic, and immediate access to appropriate medical care, including rabies vaccine and immune globulin, could be limited.
  • To order RabAvert for either pre- or post-exposure prophylaxis, customers may contact:
    • Amerisource Bergen Corporation: Please contact your local distribution center
    • ASD Healthcare: 800-746-6273
    • BDI Pharma: 800-948-9834
    • Besse Medical: 800-543-2111
    • Cardinal: 800-964-5227
    • FFF Enterprises: 800-843-7477
    • General Injectables %26; Vaccines, Inc. (GIV): 800-521-7468
    • Henry Schein, Inc: 800-772-4346
    • Insource, Inc: 800-366-3829
    • McKesson Medical-Surgical: 1-800-950-9229
    • Novartis Vaccines: 800-244-7668
  • Sanofi Pasteur continues to have IMOVAX vaccine available for post-exposure prophylaxis following risk assessment from a state or local health department official.
  • To obtain IMOVAX rabies vaccine you must first contact your Rabies State/Local Health Official so that a risk-assessment can be conducted for the suspected exposure. If your Rabies State Health Official determines that rabies post-exposure prophylaxis is indicated they will provide you with a passcode to place on the Sanofi Pasteur Rabies Post-Exposure Form. The form must be filled out in its entirety, including the required physician’s signature and passcode provided by your Rabies State Health Official. Please contact Sanofi Pasteur at 1-800-VACCINE to obtain the required form.
  • Rabies immune globulin remains available with no changes in historical supply.

Why is there an interruption in supply?

  • Starting in June 2007, Sanofi Pasteur began renovating its IMOVAX Rabies vaccine production facility in France to maintain compliance with the most current requirements from FDA and the French regulatory body. Prior to these renovations, Sanofi Pasteur established an inventory based on historical levels of sales and projected market demand. The facility is scheduled to be approved and operational by mid-to-late 2009. Until the facility is operational, Sanofi Pasteur has a finite amount of IMOVAX Rabies vaccine.
  • After the renovations began, Novartis, the other supplier of rabies vaccine for the United States, was unable to meet projected rabies vaccine supplies.
  • Since early 2008, Novartis has been supplying its rabies vaccine, RabAvert, for post-exposure use only. Consequently, Sanofi Pasteur has been supplying nearly all of the market for rabies vaccine. The increase in demand for IMOVAX is outpacing the company s historical levels of supply.

How does this affect current rabies vaccination recommendations?

  • Persons at increased risk for rabies exposure should take appropriate precautions to avoid rabies exposure.
  • Vaccine is available for PEP, and providers should consult with their local or state public health department to ensure appropriate use of PEP.
  • General rabies awareness and prevention messages should be emphasized to avoid exposure (e.g., avoid wildlife contact, vaccinate pets/livestock, capture/observe/test exposing animal, etc.).

Previous Updates on this Sitaution