Thursday, February 10, 2011

New Shingles Vaccine Short Supply

New Shingles Vaccine Short Supply - Less than a month after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that most Americans over 60 get vaccinated to prevent shingles, the vaccine is in short supply.

Zostavax — a one-time vaccine that costs $150 to $300 — cut the risk of getting shingles by 55 percent in clinical trials, but now its manufacturer, Merck, says it won’t be able to fill many orders until April.

Nearly one of three people nationwide will develop shingles, a painful condition also known as herpes zoster. Adults who had chickenpox as a child are at risk. Both Zostavax and chickenpox vaccine Varivax are made with varicella, the virus that causes both diseases, and a Merck spokesman says the company has to “prioritize” which vaccine to make because of a limited supply of varicella, adding, “Merck’s first priority is the childhood vaccine.”

A shortag e could lead to outbreaks among the elderly and “devastating pain,” says Dr. Sharon Brangman, president of the American Geriatrics Society.
Shingles starts as a numbness, tingling or itching and develops into a rash that eventually blisters. In severe cases, the virus causes blindness.

New Shingles Vaccine Short Supply

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