Each year, it’s estimated that millions of Americans are affected by shingles, and one in three Americans will have shingles in their lifetime according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In 2006 the first shingles vaccine, Zostavax, was approved for use and was more recently replaced by Shingrix as the CDC-recommended vaccine for adults 50 years of age and older.
Despite the prevalence of shingles and development of Shingrix, the CDC reports that only 33.4% of adults 60 years and older have received the shingles vaccine. A CDC study also found that coverage among adults aged 50 to 59 is only around 6%. These low rates of vaccination uptake and age disparities may be attributed to low rates of adult vaccination overall, a misunderstanding of who should receive the vaccine, or lack of awareness of available preventions. The current health risks associated with COVID-19 further emphasize the need for patients to utilize all preventative measures available, including vaccines, to maintain their overall wellbeing.
By educating patients on the effects of shingles and who needs the vaccine, providers can improve shingles vaccine uptake and ensure that their patients are protected against this painful disease.