With Sanofi left as the lone supplier of tetanus shots in the US, CDC warns of shortage

It’s time to add another vaccine to the shortage list in the U.S. as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has urged healthcare providers to conserve their supply of tetanus shots.

The warning from the national public health agency comes after one of the two providers of tetanus shots in the U.S., nonprofit MassBiologics, discontinued production of its tetanus and diphtheria (Td) vaccine. MassBiologics’ exclusive distributor, Grifols USA, told the CDC that supply of the product, which is called TdVax, will last until June of this year.

Meanwhile, the other manufacturer of tetanus shots for the U.S., Sanofi, “is taking steps to augment their available supply,” the CDC said.

Sanofi’s product is Tenivac, which also defends against tetanus and diphtheria.

The CDC has installed temporary controls on the “public and private sectors” on ordering the vaccines, it said, “to help manage the gap in supply.”

Another option, without any supply issues, are combination vaccines for tetanus, diphtheria and acellular pertussis (Tdap). The CDC has asked providers to transition to use of Tdap vaccines “whenever possible.”

Tdap vaccines available in the U.S. are Sanofi’s Adacel and GSK’s Boostrix. The shots are more expensive than Td vaccines but have increased in popularity, while sales of Td shots have declined.

Td vaccines should only be provided to those who can’t receive pertussis-containing shots, the agency added. Pertussis is more commonly known as whooping cough.

Tetanus is a virus caused by bacteria Clostridium, which is often found in soil. The bacteria can cause muscle contractions, especially in the neck and mouth, also referred to a “lockjaw.”

In recent months, the CDC also has dealt with a shortage of a new immunization to combat respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). Called Beyfortus, the antibody from partners Sanofi and AstraZeneca is the lone RSV immunization in the U.S. for infants.