More than 10,000 rubella cases have already been reported this year as of the first week of June, and people have been seeking to protect themselves by means of getting immunized. But rubella vaccines are also reported to be in short supply in some parts of the country, particularly in the east’s Kanto Region, where rubella was found to spread at an alarming pace in Tokyo and its neighboring prefectures earlier this year.
The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare revealed that there had been 11,991 cases of rubella by the end of June. The number of cases has escalated five-fold compared to the previous year. A lot of people are being treated from the viral infection. Beginning late March until early June, there were 500-800 cases every week. People requesting rubella vaccines have also increased, so much so that the monthly administration has now become par with the average annual consumption.
Rubella, or German Measles, vaccines are routine for toddlers (1-3 years old) and pre-school (4-6 years old) children because they lack enough immunity against the viral infection. Adults are also in need of vaccine when they have weak immune systems, or never received the routine injection when they were a child. With the current shortage of vaccines, clinics and local municipal health offices are giving priority to children and women without enough immunity.
The increase of rubella cases this year have already been reported and should’ve prompted the health ministry to secure enough stock. Those meant for use in the coming months have been reported to be already used because of the current situation. It is also expected to take months for production to catch up, given the number of requests from people.