SPRINGFIELD, Ohio (WDTN) – Miami Valley pharmacies, public health departments and other health care providers are among those affected by a nationwide shortage of a popular shingles vaccine.
The Clark County Combined Health District explained it’s been a persistent issue as the manufacturer of recommended shingles vaccines Shingrix struggles to keep up with unanticipated demand.
“We’re getting about five doses every two months and that’s it,” said Director of Nursing Christina Conover, although the Combined Health District receives numerous calls requesting the immunization.
“[We tell patients] to just be calling regularly to a number of suppliers — retail pharmacies, health departments — to see who has it available at the time,” Conover said.
Many pharmacies either put patients on a waiting list or tell them to check back at a later date.
In a statement to 2 NEWS, a CVS Pharmacy spokesperson said the following:
“It has become challenging for all providers to keep an ample supply in stock for all patients. CVS is getting shipments regularly. Per CDC guidance, CVS is prioritizing patients that need their second dose prior to administering to patients requesting their first dose. Patients are encouraged to call their local store and be added to a Shingrix request list. The patient will be contacted when doses are available and the patient is next on the request list.”
The Centers for Disease Control recommend healthy adults over age 50 receive the two-shot series 2-6 months apart, even if you’ve previously had shingles, aren’t sure if you’ve had chickenpox or if you’ve been immunized with the drug’s predecessor Zostavax.
Shingles is a painful rash that usually develops on one side of the body. It can sometimes lead to serious complications like pneumonia, hearing loss, nerve damage or death.
“Those types of complications make it very soering that now there is a vaccine available, yet people still cannot get it. We take that very seriously,” said Conover.
Though the shingles vaccine may not be readily available for everyone, the director of nursing stressed the importance of vaccinating, especially for contagious diseases. The warning comes in the wake of measles outbreaks across 22 states.
Conover said, “Vaccinations are one of our biggest tools here in the United States to prevent the circulation of disease that can have really serious complications.”
You can read more CDC guidelines about the shingles vaccine here.
Shingrix also offers an online tool to find your nearest pharmacy with the vaccine here.