Heightened public awareness of shingles leads to vaccine shortage

Heightened public awareness of shingles leads to vaccine shortage
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If you’re hoping to get the new shingles vaccine shot, join the crowd.

Washington state and the rest of the Pacific Northwest are no exception to the nationwide shortage of the newer vaccine that protects adults against the condition that causes a painful, blistery rash.

Heightened public awareness of shingles and an improved vaccine to fend it off led to the shortage, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention earlier this summer.

Washington State University’s College of Medicine reports that when Shingrix became available this year, supply could not keep up with demand, leading to inventory shortages at pharmacies beginning in late May.

Shingrix is 90 percent effective in adults 50 and older. The old vaccine, Zostavax, is about 50 percent effective, the CDC states.

Shingles is a viral infection that typically causes a throbbing, burning rash for days or even weeks before it runs its course.

Although aging adults are more likely to develop the disease, young people are still susceptible but may experience milder symptoms.

Shingles affects one in three adults in their lifetime. By recommending that healthy adults start receiving the new vaccine at age 50, it is hoped those statistics will drop significantly.

Some degree of shortages are expected to continue through the rest of 2018.