Few Older Adults Receive Herpes Zoster Vaccination

Only 6.7 percent of adults aged 60 and older were vaccinated by 2008

THURSDAY, Jan. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Although the herpes zoster vaccine (HZV) was approved for prevention of shingles by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2006 and recommended for adults aged 60 and older, uptake for the preventive vaccine remains well under 10 percent, according to research published in the February issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Peng-jun Lu, M.D., Ph.D., of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues analyzed data from the 2008 National Health Interview Survey on people aged 60 and older to establish the rate of HZ vaccination for this population.

The researchers found 6.7 percent reported having had HZ vaccination, with uptake lower among 60- to 64-year-olds (4.7 percent) than in those aged 65 to 74, 75 to 84, and 85 and older (7.4, 7.6, and 8.2 percent, respectively). Non-Hispanic whites had a vaccination rate of 7.6 percent, statistically higher than non-Hispanic blacks, at 2.5 percent, and Hispanics, at 2.1 percent.

"If all eligible people received HZV in accordance with Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommendations, the vaccination could prevent a quarter of a million cases of HZ annually. However, it was found that two years after HZV became available, coverage levels remain low. Nonetheless, the increase in vaccination coverage compared to 2007 is encouraging, and the amount of proprietary data from the manufacturer of HZV suggests that coverage continues to increase," the authors write.

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