Shingles vaccine remains in short supply, long waits possible at Colorado pharmacies

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DENVER — Due to an ongoing, nationwide shortage of Shingrix, a shingles vaccine, long waits for the vaccine are possible at Colorado pharmacies.

Shingrix has been available for about two years, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends it for people over the age of 50.  It is about 90% effective, but it is hard to find.

Some pharmacies and doctor offices have it in stock, others do not.  Many patients end up on wait lists with hundreds of other people, which can be discouraging.

Shingles occurs in patients who once had the chicken pox.  Later in life the virus can be re-awakened and cause patches of blisters on the skin.  It can also cause lingering nerve pain.

It is important to get the vaccine, but it can take some effort.

“There could be long waiting lists.  When I checked with a particular pharmacy they said they had a wait list of about 200 people, and then they decided to just disband the wait list, and just do first come first served,” said Sunny Linnebur with the University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy.

Linnebur recommends calling around to different pharmacies to check availability.  The UCHealth pharmacy at University of Colorado Hospital, for instance, did have Shingrix in stock.

Shingrix requires a second dose within two to six months, so pharmacists say its important to ask your provider how to guarantee you get your second dose.

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