Shortage of New Vaccine Puts Adults 50 and Older at Risk

Shortage of New Vaccine Puts Adults 50 and Older at Risk
Photo by Santipong Srikhamta /

Older Americans who want an important inoculation against a painful medical condition are having a tough time getting it due to a shortage of a new vaccine.

As we reported previously, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that folks 50 or older — even those who are healthy — should get a new shingles vaccine sold under the name Shingrix. The CDC says shingles afflicts about 1 in 3 Americans in their lifetime, and the risk increases with age.

Last year, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices reported that clinical trials found the Shingrix vaccine to be more than 90 percent effective in preventing shingles in folks ages 50 and older.

By contrast, an older vaccine — Zostavax — is anywhere from 38 percent to 70 percent effective, depending on age.

Thanks to the CDC’s recommendation, countless Americans have been requesting Shingrix, which is given in a pair of doses two to six months apart.

However, HealthDay reports that demand for Shingrix — which was introduced in October 2017 — has outpaced supply for months.

What should you do if you can’t get your vaccine?

Although the vaccine shortage has caused much frustration, good news appears to be on the horizon.

Late last month, British pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline — which makes Shingrix — announced it was shipping a large volume of the vaccine to health care providers and pharmacies, HealthDay reports.

That should make it easier to get your two doses of Shingrix. GlaxoSmithKline has even set up a website to help you find providers in your area that have the vaccine.

If you have had one dose of the drug, don’t worry if your second dose is delayed. HealthDay reports that you will not have to start the vaccination process over.

Also, HealthDay says providing written proof that you have already had one dose of the vaccine may move you to the front of the line once your provider receives its next shipment of Shingrix.

What is shingles?

Shingles is a painful, blistering rash. The rash typically clears up within a few weeks, although it can lead to prolonged complications. According to the CDC, the most common complication is postherpetic neuralgia, a pain that can last for months or years after the rash is gone.

Shingles, also known as herpes zoster, is caused by the varicella zoster virus (VZV), the same virus that causes chickenpox. After a person recovers from chickenpox, the virus lies dormant in the body and can reactivate years later, causing shingles. So if you’ve had chickenpox, you’re at risk for shingles.

What’s your take on this news? Comment below or on our Facebook page.

Learn everything you need to plan your dream retirement

The Only Retirement Guide You'll Ever Need gives you the knowledge you need to retire on your own terms. Sure, you can pay a financial adviser, but this online course gives you total control to create a custom retirement plan around the things that make you happy.

You're going to get expert, personalized advice. You'll have access to the latest tools. And when it's complete, you'll be able to approach your retirement confidently and with peace of mind.

It's time to plan the best years of your life. Let's get started.

Read Next

7 Reasons You Should Not Move for Retirement
7 Reasons You Should Not Move for Retirement

Sunny skies and warm breezes sound great. But in reality, you might be better off retiring closer to home. Here’s why.

12 Products to Keep Your Car Clean and Organized
12 Products to Keep Your Car Clean and Organized

These items will help put your vehicular mess to rest — and each is available for less than $20 on Amazon.

How to Get a Loan Fast by Tapping Into Your Home Equity
How to Get a Loan Fast by Tapping Into Your Home Equity

If you’re a homeowner, you may be able to get a competitive loan for as much as $150,000 in just days.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started


Trending Stories