Important news on the shingles vaccine

How you can help your patients through the Shingrix shortage.

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What vaccines are available?

Two vaccines are licensed and recommended to prevent shingles in the United States. Zoster vaccine live (ZVL, Zostavax) has been in use since 2006. Recombinant zoster vaccine (RZV, Shingrix), has been in use since 2017 and is recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) as the preferred shingles vaccine.


How should I advise my patients about the Shingrix shortage?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend these proven strategies to help patients receive all their needed vaccinations on time, including Shingrix:


  • Implement a vaccine reminder and recall system using phone, e-mail, or text messages to contact patients when you have Shingrix supply (or your vendor). Give first consideration to patients due for their second dose of Shingrix.

  • If you are out of Shingrix (or your vendor) and a patient needs a second dose, refer the patient to another provider in your network (e.g., a pharmacy) that has Shingrix so the patient can complete the series. Certain websites such as the Shingrix vaccine locator and HealthMap vaccine finder can help you search for stock of the vaccine online.

  • Be sure to enter your patients’ current vaccination information into your state’s immunization information system (IIS). This will ensure that every provider can access your patients’ immunization record, and it may help facilitate patient reminders to complete the Shingrix series.

  • As supply becomes less constrained, be sure to notify eligible patients so they can come in to get their first dose of Shingrix.

You can also refer patients who are Sharp Health Plan members to our website. We have developed an FAQ to help answer their questions about the vaccine and the shortage.


Who should get Shingrix?

The CDC recommends giving Shingrix to immunocompetent adults 50 years and older, including those who:

  • Had shingles in the past,
  • Received Zostavax (Zoster Vaccine Live) at least 8 weeks prior, 
  • Have health conditions, such as chronic renal failure, diabetes mellitus, rheumatoid arthritis, or chronic pulmonary disease,
  • Are receiving other vaccines, such as influenza and pneumococcal vaccines, at the same time,
  • Are taking low-dose immunosuppressive therapy.

 

 


Who should not get Shingrix?

The CDC recommends not giving Shingrix to a patient who has ever had a severe allergic reaction, such as anaphylaxis, to a component of this vaccine, or after a dose of Shingrix. Consider delaying vaccination if your patient is pregnant, lactating, or experiencing an acute episode of shingles.

 


What should I do for patients who have already received their first dose of Shingrix?

The second dose of Shingrix should be given 2-6 months after the first, however, the CDC noted that even if more than six months have elapsed since the first dose, the series does not need to be restarted. Patients may remain at risk for herpes zoster during a longer than recommended interval between doses one and two. The second dose of Shingrix should not be substituted with the Zostavax vaccine. To learn more, please read the CDC’s Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices for Use of Herpes Zoster Vaccines.



Who should I contact with questions?

If you have questions, please contact Provider Relations at provider.relations@sharp.com or call
1-858-499-8330. We are available to assist you Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5 pm.