Officials: Shortage of shingles vaccine impacting patients

Published: Apr. 17, 2019 at 5:23 PM CDT
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Health officials say hospitals and pharmacies in the state are experiencing a shortage of a shingles vaccine.

Mandy Kvam, pharmacist at HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital and CVS, says this shortage has been an issue for the past year now.

Part of the reason is that the demand is greater than what the manufacturer can produce.

They say batches can take up to 9 months to make and distribute, leaving many on a waiting list.

“Shingles is known for having a patchy, itchy, scabby area throughout the body. It's known for itching, it can be painful,” said Kvam. “It can cause nerve pain and that’s something that can last even after the shingles themselves have gone away.”

She says pharmacies get stocks in periodically, causing concern among patients waiting for the vaccine.

“It's a two-dose series,” said Kvam. “You get the first and second doses about 2-6 months apart and with the shortage here many people have been concerned with being able to get that second dose in.”

Kvam said CVS currently has a wait list up to 200 people.

“We're currently prioritizing those needing their second shot in order to keep them within that 2-6 month window,” said Kvam.

She says missing that dose isn't detrimental, but it’s best to let your health provider know as soon as possible.

Officials recommend reaching out to every pharmacy in your area if you want to put your name on the wait list.

Your local pharmacist should be able to answer any questions, as well as your doctors, nurses, or any of your health care providers.