Shringrx Scores Another Shingles Approval

Shingrix, GSK Herpes Zoster subunit (HZ/su) vaccine, gains EU marketing approval

Older people in a park

Shingrix is a newly approved Herpes Zoster vaccine currently available in the USA and Canada.

Now, Shingrix is authorized in the European Union (EU) as well.

The European Medicines Agency's (EMA's) Committee voted to recommend granting a marketing authorization for Shingrix (recombinant, adjuvanted Herpes zoster vaccine), a vaccine for the prevention of herpes zoster and post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN) in adults 50 years of age or older.

Vaccination is the only way to protect against shingles and PHN, the most common complication from shingles, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Two doses of Shingrix is more than 90% effective at preventing shingles and PHN. Protection stays above 85% for at least the first four years after you get vaccinated, said the CDC.

In the USA, Shingrix is now the preferred vaccine over Zostavax®, a shingles vaccine in use since 2006.

During October 2017, CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted 8 to 7 to recommend Shingrix over Zostavax for adults 50 years of age and older.

The CDC approval follows a unanimous vote by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that the vaccine is effective and safe for adults aged 50 years and older.

“It’s (Shingrix) a real paradigm shift because there are no vaccines that perform so extraordinarily well for people in their 70s and their 80s,” says Rafael Harpaz, an infectious-disease specialist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Shingrix contains a lone protein isolated from the shell of the varicella-zoster virus which acts as an ID tag, enabling the immune system to recognize all future varicella-zoster viruses it encounters.

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The Zostavax vaccine contains a whole, live virus, but weakened varicella-zoster virus.

Shingrix is given in two doses, with a 2- to 6-month interval between doses.

Doctors or pharmacists can deliver Shingrix as a shot in your upper arm.

The CDC says shingles strikes about 1 million people in the U.S. each year and nearly one in three adults will experience a shingles outbreak in their lifetime.

Like every vaccine, Shingrix has the potential for side effects, which should be reported to the FDA. You are encouraged to report negative side effects of vaccines at this FDA website.

The new shingles vaccine does appear more likely to cause pain during injection and at the site of injection for up to three days afterward, more than Zostavax does, said the CDC.

Most pharmacies offer shingles vaccines. The retail price of this vaccine varies based upon insurance coverage and location.

Vaccine discounts can be found here.