Panel recommends new, better shingles shot over old version

October 25, 2017 by Mike Stobbe
Panel recommends new, better shingles shot over old version
This image provided by GlaxoSmithKline in October 2017 shows the company's Shingrix vaccine. On Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2017, a federal panel of experts recommended that as many as 20 million Americans who were vaccinated against shingles get revaccinated with a new shot. The panel said doctors should first opt for Shingrix, licensed a week earlier, which uses a new ingredient to boost immunity. (GlaxoSmithKline via AP)

A federal panel recommended Wednesday that older people already vaccinated for shingles get a new, better shot.

The advisory group said the just-approved made by GlaxoSmithKline works better at preventing shingles and may last longer than the one that's been sold in the U.S. since 2006.

Shingles, a painful condition that causes blisters, occurs when the chickenpox virus resurfaces decades later, often when people are in their 60s or older. About 1 in 3 U.S. residents will get it during their lifetime, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

At a meeting in Atlanta, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices said doctors should first opt for Glaxo's two-dose Shingrix, which uses a new ingredient to boost its effectiveness. It was approved in the U.S. last week, and the committee recommended it for adults 50 and older.

Shingrix has been shown to be 90 percent effective and last at least four years in company-sponsored studies.

"It performs in very superior fashion and will prevent more disease than the other vaccine available," said panel member Dr. Kelly Moore, director of the Tennessee health department's immunization program.

The vote recommending a preference for Glaxo's vaccine over Merck's single-dose Zostavax was unusually close, 8-7. Panel members noted that the two vaccines have not been tested head-to-head yet, and some wanted to wait for more long-term safety information about the new additive used by Glaxo.

But other panel members worried that without citing a preference, many doctors and pharmacies may decide to stock Merck's less expensive vaccine, which costs $232 compared to $280 for the Glaxo vaccination.

Merck's single-dose Zostavax vaccine is recommended for people 60 and older. It reduces the risk by about half, though say its effectiveness drops sharply after about five years.

The panel didn't suggest a time frame when it recommended a Glaxo vaccine for anyone previously vaccinated. Health officials say as many as 20 million Americans would be eligible for a second round.

The hasn't been very popular; only about 30 percent of those over 60 got it.

The panel's recommendations are almost always adopted by the CDC. But in a statement, Merck officials said they hope the agency will consider some of the issues raised at the meeting and not give a preferential recommendation to Shingrix.

Explore further: US vaccine panel to discuss waning effectiveness, new shots

Related Stories

US vaccine panel to discuss waning effectiveness, new shots

October 24, 2017
Two years ago, George Green got stabbing pain and bad blisters around his right arm. It was the worst case of shingles his doctor had ever seen.

Panel backs vaccine as cervical cancer alternative

October 21, 2009
(AP) -- A second kind of vaccine against cervical cancer may be added to the recommended list for girls and young women after a federal advisory panel voted Wednesday to support it.

Shingles vaccine cuts chronic pain, hospitalizations

March 17, 2017
(HealthDay)—Vaccination greatly reduces the risk of serious complications from shingles, a new study finds.

Preteens need only 2 HPV shots—not 3, panel says

October 19, 2016
It may soon be easier for preteens to get the vaccine against cervical cancer. A government panel is recommending they get fewer shots spaced further apart.

Flu vaccine ineffective for people 65 and older last winter

June 21, 2017
The flu vaccine did a poor job protecting older Americans against the illness last winter, even though the vaccine was well-matched to the flu bugs going around.

Shingles vaccine helps protect older patients with end-stage renal disease

December 15, 2015
Elderly patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) who received the shingles vaccine were half as likely to develop shingles compared to those who were not vaccinated. The new study from Kaiser Permanente, published in ...

Recommended for you

Health insurer policies may discourage use of non-opioid alternatives for lower back pain

October 5, 2018
Public and private health insurance policies in the U.S. are missing important opportunities to encourage the use of physical therapy, psychological counseling and other non-drug alternatives to opioid medication for treating ...

Opioid overdoses, depression linked

October 3, 2018
The link between mental health disorders and substance abuse is well-documented. Nearly one in 12 adults in the U.S is depressed, and opioid-related deaths are skyrocketing. As these numbers continue to climb, some mental ...

Do price spikes on some generic drugs indicate problems in the market?

October 1, 2018
A new USC study reports that sudden price spikes for some generic drugs—such as the recently reported increases of a decades-old generic heart medication and an antibiotic—are becoming more common.

Reclassification recommendations for drug in 'magic mushrooms'

September 26, 2018
In an evaluation of the safety and abuse research on the drug in hallucinogenic mushrooms, Johns Hopkins researchers suggest that if it clears phase III clinical trials, psilocybin should be re-categorized from a schedule ...

New study finds concurrent use of prescription drugs and dietary supplements could pose health risks

September 25, 2018
A new University of Hertfordshire study found that using certain over-the-counter herbal medicines and dietary supplements alongside prescription drugs could pose serious health risks, especially amongst older adults.

Drug overdose epidemic has been growing exponentially for decades

September 20, 2018
Death rates from drug overdoses in the U.S. have been on an exponential growth curve that began at least 15 years before the mid-1990s surge in opioid prescribing, suggesting that overdose death rates may continue along this ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.