Herpes zoster vaccine on back order

Herpes zoster vaccine on back order

February 18, 2011

Less than 1 month after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention?s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommended that most Americans aged 60 years and older get vaccinated to prevent herpes zoster, the vaccine (Zostavax, Merck) is on back order.

Less than 1 month after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommended that most Americans aged 60 years and older get vaccinated to prevent herpes zoster, the vaccine (Zostavax, Merck) is on back order.

Zostavax, a live attenuated virus vaccine indicated for prevention of herpes zoster in individuals aged 60 years and older, may reduce the risk of shingles by half, according to Merck.

Merck spokesperson Pamela Eisele told Formulary that although Zostavax is back ordered, Merck continues to accept new orders for Zostavax. Current supply information and estimated delivery time is listed on Merck’s customer website (www.merckvaccines.com) and updated frequently to reflect current status.

“In December, we filled a majority of back orders of Zostavax,” Eisele said. “We will continue to release doses of Zostavax in 2011, but as inventory is building, back orders will still occur. Our commitment to ensuring supply of Zostavax throughout the world remains strong, and we continue to work diligently to secure regular access to this important vaccine.”

The risk for getting shingles begins to rise around age 50. In a clinical trial involving thousands of adults aged 60 years old or older, Zostavax reduced the risk of shingles by 51% and the risk of post-herpetic neuralgia by 67%. While the vaccine was most effective in people aged 60 to 69 years old, it also provided some protection for older groups, according to the CDC.