A new shingles vaccine is flying off the shelves so fast that it’s hard to find anywhere in the country, including Montana. According to Montana DPHHS Consultant for Immunization Susan Reeser, there’s a good reason the vaccine, called SHINGRIX is so hard to find.

“It just came on the market in 2017 and it hasn’t officially been out there much longer than that,” Reeser said. “It is a really nice effective vaccine. Studies show it is about 90% effective and there is a lot of demand for this. There was a previous vaccine that was about 50 to 60 percent effective.”

The CDC is recommending people get the new vaccine, which requires two applications, even if they already received the old single-dose shingles vaccine. Though the new vaccine is hard to get in Montana, it’s not impossible.

“I would say if you are looking for those, call your healthcare provider, your pharmacy that you go to, possibly even your local health department, and see if there is a list you can get on where they would call you when they get shipments in,” Reeser said. “It is not that it is totally not available. The shipments are coming in periodically.”

The Shingles virus can hit anyone who has had chicken pox and is estimated to impact about one million Americans each year, it can be very painful and often exhibits as a rash on one part of the body. It is rarely fatal, but can lead to serious side effects like blindness.  The CDC recommends everyone over 50-years-old get the vaccine, even if they have had shingles before.

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