Senator Schumer Says ‘More Shingles Vaccine Needed’

GSK Shingrix vaccine reported statistically superior to other shingles vaccines

dawn is rising, man walking with a cane near the sound

New York Senator Chuck Schumer is calling on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to address the shingles vaccine shortage on Long Island, according to reporting by Keshia Clukey with Newsday.com.

High-demand from consumers has resulted in a nationwide shortage of Shingrix. 

Shingrix is an FDA-approved vaccine for the prevention of shingles (herpes zoster) in adults 50 years and older.   

Senator Schumer is expected to join pharmacists and doctors to discuss the shingles vaccine shortage at Moby Drugs in Farmingdale, New York, on January 7, 2019. 

Schumer said to Newsday that ‘the shortage warrants the use of FDA essential staff to help remedy the problem with the manufacturer and improve communication with the public on when new shipments would arrive locally.’ 

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

Additionally, GSK spokesman Sean Clements said to Modern Medicine in a statement, “Going forward, providers and patients can feel confident that more Shingrix doses are being made available and that they will be able to find the vaccine to complete their 2-dose series.” 

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

And, on December 12th, 2018 – GSK said the Shingrix vaccine shortages could persist 'throughout 2019', reported Eric Sagonowsky with FiercePharma.   

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends healthy adults ages 50 and older get both doses of Shingrix. 

You should make every effort to get the 2nd dose of Shingrix between 2 and 6 months after you got the 1st dose. 

If it’s been more than 6 months since you got the 1st dose, you should get the 2nd dose as soon as possible, and not restart the vaccine series, says the CDC. 

Recommended:

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 CDC. 

About 30 percent of Americans will develop herpes zoster, which translates into an estimated 1 million new cases each year, reports Immunize.org.   

And, over 60 percent of these infections are people 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. 

Shingles vaccination appointments can be scheduled at local pharmacies on this webpage. 

And, vaccine discounts can be found on this page. 

Vaccines, like medications, can cause side effects, says the CDC.