Shingles Vaccinations on the Rise in United States

August 10, 2020

The report showed that the vaccination rate has quintupled over the last decade.

More senior Americans than ever before are reporting that they’ve been vaccinated against shingles, according to newly published data from the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics. Although the shingles vaccination rate is now almost 35% nationally, there are racial, economic, and educational disparities among those receiving the vaccine.1

The National Health Interview Survey focused on the 10 years between 2008 and 2018. During that time, the national shingles vaccination rate among adults aged 60 and older rose from 6.7% in 2008 to 34.5% in 2016, and then remained constant through 2018. Rates for adults aged 70 and over were even higher, ranging from 7.8% in 2008 to 37.8% in 2016, which also held constant through 2018. The higher rates surpassed the CDC’s Healthy People 2020 target of 30% for shingles vaccination.1

Other key findings of the survey include:1

  • By 2018, women and men were equally as likely to have received a shingles vaccine. Their vaccination rates were 35.4% and 33.5%, respectively.
  • The vaccination rate of 38.6% for non-Hispanic white adults was about twice that of non-Hispanic Black (18.8%) and Hispanic (19.5%) adults.
  • Vaccination rates increased with family income, ranging from 20.4% among poor adults to 38.4% among adults in higher income brackets.
  • The rate also increased with educational attainment. Adults with less than a high school diploma had a rate of 21.2%; adults with more than a high school diploma or GED had a rate of 39.9%.
  • Geographically, the vaccination rate of those surveyed ranged from a high of 42.8% in the West North Central region of the United States to a low of 26.3% in the East South Central region.

“While there has been a shingles vaccine [Zostavax] available since 2006, a new vaccine [Shingrix] was introduced in late 2017, and uptake in the market may have occurred differentially in 2018,” noted the authors of the report.1

They also found that the discontinuation of Zostavax in the United States—announced by Merck in May with an effective date of July 1, 2020—may further alter shingles vaccination patterns in the future. Additionally, the 2017 recommendation by the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), which expanded shingles vaccination to adults aged 50 and over, may also impact future vaccination rates.1

Supply shortages of Shingrix developed shortly after its introduction in the US market, but FiercePharma recently reported that the COVID-19 pandemic led to a drop-off in vaccinations, allowing GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) to catch up on production of its shingles vaccine.2

A company spokesman reported that GSK has produced “without interruption” during the pandemic. As a result, Shingrix is no longer listed on the CDC’s shortages list, and GSK assured its customers that it has supplies “available to meet demand across all distribution channels.”

References:

  1. Terlizzi EP, Black LI. Shingles vaccination among adults aged 60 and over: United States, 2018. National Center for Health Statistics. July 2020. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db370-h.pdf
  2. Sagonowsky E. GSK’s Shingrix supply recovers thanks to drop in vaccinations, uninterrupted production. FiercePharma. Published July 9, 2020. Accessed August 10, 2020. https://www.fiercepharma.com/pharma/gsk-s-shingrix-supply-recovers-due-to-drop-vaccinations-uninterrupted-production