Shingles Vaccine Recap: A Shingrix Primer for Primary Care

Herpes zoster vaccination rates in the US have ticked up only minimally since FDA approval of Shingrix. Brush up on the basics of the vaccine and pass it on to your patients.

The vaccination rate for herpes zoster, (HZ), also known as shingles, surpassed its Healthy People 2020 goal, according to data released earlier this year by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “Herpes zoster vaccination coverage in 2018 was 4.5 percentage points above the Healthy People 2020 target of 30%,” authors wrote in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

While that news was a bright spot in an otherwise disappointing report from the annual National Health Interview Survey, it still reflects a population significantly underprotected against an infection that while rarely fatal, can lead to long-term neuropathic pain and other severe long-term complications that are vaccine-preventable.

How well is your patient panel protected from HZ infection? The COVID-19 pandemic has created a backlog of need for the standard routine adult immunizations recommended by CDC. Have a quick look at this summary of CDC guidance on the basics of one of the most important for any patient aged ≥50 years.