National shortage of improved shingles vaccine hits close to home

Dr. Patrick Leutdke with Lane County Public Health told KEZI there are about one million shingle cases a year.

Posted: Jan 11, 2019 6:09 PM
Updated: Jan 11, 2019 6:29 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- The waiting lists for the new shingles vaccine are getting longer and longer. Lane County Public Health officials said that's because there's a shortage of the vaccine happening throughout the country and locally.

Dr. Patrick Leutdke with Lane County Public Health told KEZI 9 News there are about one million shingle cases a year. He said shingles is a virus that can lead to a painful rash that can develop in people who have had chickenpox.

Leutdke said the new vaccine is much more effective and was initially introduced at the end of 2017. It's also given in two injections, whereas the previous vaccine was given in one.

"It’s about 90 percent effective, which is wonderful -- a significantly better vaccine,” Leutdke said. “But there's not enough of it to meet the demand right now, and they're ramping up production as I understand it, but they're just not where they need to be yet to meet the demand with this need."

Luedtke said a third of us will get shingles at some point in our lives.

He said he feels for those impacted by the shortage and says the vaccine should be replenished by the end of the year.

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