Shingles Vaccination Rates Significantly Increased With Seniors

Shringrix is the recommended vaccine to prevent shingles in the USA
older people sitting watching the sunset

The number of senior Americans who report receiving a shingles vaccination had risen steadily since 2008, new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC's) National Center for Health Statistics revealed

The proportion of people in this age group (60+) who were vaccinated rose from 6.7 percent in 2008 to 34.5 percent in 2018, reported the CDC on July 9, 2020.

While there has been a shingles vaccine available since 2006, a new vaccine was introduced in late 2017, and uptake in the market may have occurred differentially in 2018, stated the CDC. 

Also in 2017, the CDC’s vaccine committee expanded their recommendation for shingles vaccination to adults aged 50 and over. 

Prior to this change (starting in 2008), shingles vaccination was only recommended for those aged 60 and over.

According to this new data, shingles vaccination did not differ by sex, but non-Hispanic white adults were more likely to have ever received this vaccine compared with Hispanic and non-Hispanic black adults. 

However, shingles vaccination increased with educational attainment, as well as with increasing family income. 

Additionally, regional differences were observed in receipt of shingles vaccination.

Shingles is a painful rash caused by the varicella-zoster virus. Persons of all ages are at risk for shingles.

Shingles rashes usually develop on one side of the body, often the face or torso. The rash consists of blisters that typically scab over in 7 to 10 days and clears up within 2 to 4 weeks. 

Some people describe the pain as an intense burning sensation.

For some people, the pain can last for months or even years after the rash goes away. 

This long-lasting pain is called postherpetic neuralgia (PHN), and it is the most common complication of shingles.

Moreover, this risk and the risk of complications from shingles case increases with age.

Two vaccines are licensed in the USA to prevent shingles and PHN, Zostavax, and Shingrix

Zoster vaccine live (ZVL, Zostavax) has been used since 2006. Zostavax may still be used to prevent shingles in healthy adults 60 years and older.

For example, you could use Zostavax if a person is allergic to Shingrix, prefers Zostavax, or requests immediate vaccination and Shingrix is not available.

On May 22, 2020, Merck notified healthcare providers that it will no longer sell Zostavax in the USA, effective July 1, 2020. 

And, the recombinant zoster vaccine (RZV, Shingrix) has been used since 2017. Shingrix is now recommended by the CDC as the preferred shingles vaccine. 

Data from the 2008–2018 NHIS were used for this analysis. NHIS is a nationally representative household survey of the civilian noninstitutionalized U.S. population.

Shingles vaccination news is published by Precision Vaccinations.