Shingles Vaccine Shingrix Reported Having Administering Issues

Shingrix and Zostavax have different delivery requirements

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When the Shingrix vaccine was approved for people 50+ years of age by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there was significant anticipation for this new product.

According to various reports, Shingrix has been very well embraced by doctors, pharmacists and most importantly, patients.

But, new CDC information says Shingrix is having ‘administration’ issues.

The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), which is part of the CDC, began monitoring Shingrix upon its approval in October 2017.

Since then, VAERS looked at 155 reports about Shingrix, 13 of which involved at least 1 error in the administration of the vaccine.

It’s possible that these errors occurred because vaccine providers were used to storing, handling, and administering Zostavax, the other CDC approved shingles vaccine.

There are several differences between Shingrix and Zostavax, which was approved by the CDC in 2006.

Unlike many vaccines made from a weakened form of the virus, Shingrix is made from just a single protein known as glycoprotein E, that comes from the outer shell of the herpes zoster virus.

Shingrix is the first shingles vaccine to combine a non-live antigen with a specifically designed adjuvant, which is a substance that helps your body better respond to the vaccine.

The second difference between Shingrix and Zostavax is that it’s delivered to people as an intramuscular injection in the deltoid muscle of the shoulder, rather than a subcutaneous one, underneath the skin.

The CDC says to prevent further Shingrix administration errors, vaccine providers should be aware of prescribing information, storage requirements, and preparation guidelines.

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To better facilitate this product comparison, a one-page reference was created by the American Pharmacist Association.

“It’s important to keep up with changing immunization guidelines,” said APhA Chief Strategy Officer Mitchel C. Rothholz, RPh, MBA.

“Practice changes based on available evidence and new products. APhA’s resources help you stay on the cutting edge with current recommendations and new product introduction.”

"Offering up to date vaccine recommendations to patients is one of the advantages we enjoy as community pharmacists. We often interact with patients on a weekly basis, which puts us in a prime position to get new information in their hands much faster than a bi-annual or annual physician visit,” said Soni Bozeman, Pharm.D., Clinical Pharmacist, Brookshires Grocery Company.

“Pharmacists are prepared to offer Shingrix to a broader patient population as superior protection against debilitating shingles outbreaks, that have affected so many seniors," says Bozeman.

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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.