Updated
May 23rd, 2019

When Will Shingrix Meet Consumer Demand?

GSK shingles vaccine Shingrix inventory constraints may continue through 2019

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GlaxoSmithKline's (GSK) Shingrix vaccine shortage is expected to persist 'throughout 2019', reported Eric Sagonowsky with FiercePharma.   

The unexpected demand for Shringrx during 2018 has overwhelmed the company's ability to keep inventories full, forcing it to take steps, such as implementing order limits to doctors and pharmacies. 

“We need to get the vaccine supply expanded as fast as possible,” GSK’s Luke Miels, global pharmaceuticals president, told analysts on the company's 3rd-quarter conference call on October 31, 2018. 

About 7 million doses were administered as of September 2018, reported GSK. 

Additionally, GSK’s overall vaccine sales increased 14 percent. 

Shingrix is a vaccine indicated for the prevention of herpes zoster (shingles) in adults aged 50+, and is not indicated for the prevention of primary varicella infection (chickenpox), says GSK.

This target population is 115 million adults.

But, Shingrix is contraindicated in anyone with a history of a severe allergic reaction to any component of the vaccine or after a previous dose of Shingrix.  

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“Because healthcare professionals continue to vaccinate at a rate many times that of previous years, we expect ordering limits to continue throughout 2019 to help us ensure that the vaccine is distributed fairly and equitably where it is needed,” company spokesman Sean Clements said. 

The wait for Shingrix may be a smart move, according to a recent study published in BMJ.  

This study was a systematic review and network meta-analysis of 5 randomized controlled trials showing it was statistically superior to both the live attenuated vaccine and placebo. 

Herpes zoster, or shingles, is a neurocutaneous disease that occurs through reactivation of the latent varicella-zoster virus, which causes chicken pox, says the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

Approximately 25 percent of the population is at risk of developing herpes zoster during their lifetime, and over 60 percent of people with the disease are aged 50 years or older. 

“I am not surprised by the demand for Shingrix. Our patients want the best protection available against shingles and most either know someone affected by shingles or have firsthand knowledge of this painful disease,” said  Soni Bozeman, PharmD, Clinical Pharmacist, MTM and Immunization Specialist for Brookshire Grocery Company.   

Vaccines, like any medicine, can have side effects, says the CDC. You are encouraged to report negative side effects of vaccines to the FDA or CDC.