Health Commissioner Justa Encarnacion on Tuesday reassured the public that there is currently no shortage of powdered infant formula in the territory. All Virgin Islands vendors that serve the Women, Infants and Children Nutrition Program participants with powdered infant formula products are currently stocked with adequate supplies of formulas, she said.
“Some vendors are very well stocked, others less so,” added Lorna Concepcion, director of the Health Department’s Women, Infants and Children Nutrition Program. “There may be slightly less availability for some special formulas, but families have been able to get supplies to meet present needs.”
The Virgin Islands WIC Program is within the top five programs in the nation for having the most infants who are breastfed, the department said in a press release. “Seventy-one percent of infants on WIC in the V.I. are breastfed, so the impact on our WIC population may not be as drastic. We are encouraging our moms to increase breastfeeds as needed,” added Concepcion. “Additionally, there is help for anyone wishing to relactate, which is rebuilding your breastmilk supply that has been reduced or dried up after weeks or months.”
Following the recall, Abbott Labs, the V.I. WIC contract formula manufacturer, increased production of its primary contracted WIC formula Similac Advance 12.4 oz powder at other FDA-registered facilities. V.I. store shelves have remained well stocked with liquid formula products since they were not impacted by the recall, the department said. Similac Advance 12.4 oz and Similac Sensitive 12.5 oz powder formulas, the high-demand WIC formulas in the V.I., were originally among the recalled products but are now restocked on store shelves.
Abbott’s work is ongoing to improve the availability of special formula powder products produced by the impacted Sturgis manufacturing facility that remains unopened, the department said. These products include EleCare/EleCare Jr., Similac for Spit Up, and Similac Alimentum. Meade Johnson has also increased its production of Nutramigen, an alternate to Alimentum, which is also available on store shelves in the V.I., according to the Health Department.
For more information about powdered infant formula availability in the Virgin Islands, contact Lorna Concepcion at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 340-718-1311, ext. 3748 or 3750.