There’s a shortage of the shingles vaccine and it’s affecting the supply here on the Central Coast.
If you’re in need of the shingles vaccine, there’s a wait list at the San Luis Obispo County Public Health Department.
Health officials say the shortage has to do with a major increase in demand.
Nancy Hoyt of Morro Bay has lupus and this year, she was diagnosed with shingles not once, but twice.
“The shingles is very painful,” Hoyt explained. “It’s debilitating.”
If you’ve had the chickenpox, you can get shingles. The virus that causes chickenpox stays in your nervous system and can re-emerge, causing the shingles rash.
“It’s a searing nerve pain that doesn’t quit,” said Hoyt, who is still dealing with the after-effects months later.
After her first bout with shingles, she tried to get vaccinated.
“They said there’s a nationwide shortage,” she explained.
Hoyt got shingles again a few months later while trying to get vaccinated along with her boyfriend.
“So we’ve been trying for seven months to get vaccines. If there’s a vaccine out there, it should be available to everybody. Why do I have to go through shingles twice, in hopes I don’t get it a third time while waiting for a vaccine?” she said.
Dr. Penny Borenstein of San Luis Obispo County Public Health says since the vaccine, Shingrix, came out less than a year ago, there just hasn’t been enough in the pipeline.
“It’s now being recommended to people ages 50 and up whereas the other one was age 60 and up, so that expands the population,” Dr. Borenstein said.
Shingrix is considered to be more effective than the previous vaccine. It has a 90 percent effective rate.
More people have also had the shingles in recent years.
Dr. Borenstein says there’s no word on when enough of the vaccine will available.
“I’ve been doing it every couple of weeks, checking in and either I’ve maybe missed them maybe or maybe, they just never got it,” Hoyt concluded.
KSBY reached out to the company that manufactures the shingles vaccine but has not received a response.
Health officials say one in three people will get shingles in their lifetime. That number is expected to drop in the years to come because more children are vaccinated against chickenpox.