Shingles vaccine shortage: APhA recommends patients take these 9 steps

  1. Healthy adults aged 50 years and older should receive two doses of Shingrix, 2 to 6 months apart.  
  2. If you do not receive your second Shingrix dose within the 2–6 month window after your first dose, you do not need to restart the series. You should receive the second dose as close to this timeframe as possible. For optimal vaccine protection, it is important that you complete the vaccine series.
  3. Check with your pharmacist or other health care professional whether they have Shingrix vaccine in stock and express your desire to be vaccinated. You might be asked to provide your insurance information prior to being vaccinated so your provider can verify coverage for your receiving the vaccination.
  4. If your provider does not currently have Shingrix vaccine in stock, ask them when they expect to receive more supply, if you can be placed on a waiting list (if they are keeping one) and will they call you when supply is available or if you need to call them. In addition, you might ask them if they know of another provider who might have Shingrix in stock and whether they can provide a referral to that provider.
  5. After receiving your first dose, ask if you can schedule a time to receive your second vaccine dose or when you should call to schedule a time for your second dose.
  6. The day prior to coming in for your Shingrix dose administration, call the practice to confirm they have vaccine supply and that everything is set for your vaccination.
  7. While, according to CDC, Shingrix is the preferred Shingles vaccine, there is another zoster vaccine (Zostavax) available on the market (note: not all providers stock this vaccine). If you prefer Zostavax or request immediate vaccination and Shingrix is unavailable, your provider can administer Zostavax. Patients who have received Zostavax are recommended to subsequently receive Shingrix. Your age and the time since receipt of Zostavax may be considered to determine when to vaccinate with Shingrix (minimum interval of 8 weeks).
  8. Have a discussion with your vaccination provider regarding what other vaccines might be indicated for you, in addition to Shingrix. Remember, to get your annual influenza (flu) vaccination.
  9. Ask you provider to report the vaccination to your state’s/local health department’s immunization registry, primary care provider (if you have one), and to provide you documentation of the vaccination.