Shingles vaccine shortage reported due to high demand

PITTSBURGH — People across the state of Pennsylvania looking for to get the shingles vaccine may have to wait longer than expected.

According to our partners at the Trib, there is a shortage of the vaccine due to 'unprecedented' demand.

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"The demand has been unprecedented," Dr. Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security and a Pittsburgh-based infectious disease physician, told the Trib. "We want to have demand like this for every vaccine."

Shingles is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox. Anyone who’s had chickenpox may develop shingles, which causes a stripe of blisters on the torso.

Of the two vaccines on the market, Shingrix, which was approved in 2017, is deemed most protective. Manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline, or GSK, it is a two-dose series recommended for people 50 and above. The other vaccine, produced by Merck, is recommended for those aged 60 and older.

“It is difficult to quantify the shortage, or how long people will have to wait,” said Nate Wardle, a Pennsylvania Department of Health spokesman. “For some, there may not be any wait at all.”

The health department recommends that people use the online vaccine locator or call their family doctor or pharmacy to see if the vaccine is in stock.