Panel recommends new, better shingles shot over old version
Rocky Mount Telegram
A federal panel recommended Wednesday that older people already vaccinated for shingles get a new, better shot.
The advisory group said the just-approved vaccine made by
Shingles, a painful condition that causes blisters, occurs when the chickenpox virus resurfaces decades later, often when people are in their 60s or older. About 1 in 3 U.S. residents will get it during their lifetime, according to the
“It performs in very superior fashion and will prevent more disease than the other vaccine available,” said Dr.
, director of the
The vote recommending a preference for Glaxo’s vaccine over Merck’s single-dose Zostavax was unusually close, 8-7. Panel members noted that the two vaccines have not been tested head-to-head yet, and some wanted to wait for more long-term safety information about the new additive used by
But other panel members worried that without citing a preference, many doctors and pharmacies may decide to stock Merck’s less expensive vaccine, which costs
Merck’s single-dose Zostavax vaccine is recommended for people 60 and older. It reduces the risk by about half, though health officials say its effectiveness drops sharply after about five years.
The panel didn’t suggest a time frame when it recommended a
The shingles vaccine hasn’t been very popular; only about 30 percent of those over 60 got it.
The panel’s recommendations are almost always adopted by the
Also on Wednesday, the panel addressed the rash of recent mumps outbreaks at universities. Mumps vaccine has been part of routine childhood shots for decades, but research suggests that protection fades 10 or more years after the second dose. The panel recommended a third dose for people living where an outbreak occurs.