HEALTH leaders appear to disagree over the availability of a tablet that helps to prevent typhoid.

Worcestershire County Council’s public health consultant announced earlier this week that the tablet form of the vaccine has recently become “unavailable”.

But the county’s NHS area team says there are no supply problems with the capsuled drug, saying the injection equivalent is only available in “limited amounts”.

“The area team is aware that there have been national difficulties in the manufacture of the typhoid vaccine since the end of 2012, although the vaccine is still available in limited amounts and can be supplied directly to GP practices or travel centres,” said a spokesman for Arden, Herefordshire and Worcestershire’s Area Team of NHS England.

“A combined typhoid/hepatitis A vaccine can be used as an alternative for patients requiring both vaccinations, which is often the case, and there are currently no problems with the supply of this vaccine.

“A further option would be for patients to be given the vaccine in a capsule form. Again, there are no supply problems for the typhoid vaccine capsule.”

However, on Wednesday, your Worcester News reported Dr Ash Banerjee, public health consultant for Worcestershire County Council, as saying typhoid tablets had recently become unavailable. “There are two types of vaccine – injections which have been in short supply for about six months, and tablets which have only recently become unavailable,” said Dr Banerjee.

He said the problem is not just confined to this county and said vaccines are not a guarantee of protection.

One city surgery, Albany House off the Tything, Worcester, backed up the county council by telling your Worcester News its supplier had been affected by the shortage of capsules since the end of October.

Typhoid is caused by bacteria that can spread throughout the body and which, without prompt treatment, can be fatal.

The illness is also very contagious, with symptoms including a fever and abdominal pain. It’s most common in parts of the world that have poor sanitation.