Breaking News
July 17, 2018 - Uncovering the evolutionary history of IBD-associated colorectal cancer
July 17, 2018 - Is nutrition research dependable? Stanford’s John Ioannidis weighs in
July 17, 2018 - New machine learning framework predicts effects of genetic mutations in ‘dark matter’ regions
July 17, 2018 - Plant-based products fail to have positive impact on blood pressure during clinical studies
July 17, 2018 - Electronic system to speed up facial pain diagnosis may improve quality of life and save money
July 17, 2018 - Women Often Unaware of Their Hospital’s Religious Affiliation
July 17, 2018 - New AASM guideline recommends use of actigraphy for sleep disorders
July 17, 2018 - CRISPR editing reduces repetitive behavior in mice with a form of autism
July 17, 2018 - Scientists use magnets to detect cancer
July 17, 2018 - Microfluidic chip to detect sepsis proves successful in clinical study
July 17, 2018 - Research provides better understanding of mechanisms underlying memory storage
July 17, 2018 - A Multi-Modal Approach for the Early Detection of Breast Cancer
July 17, 2018 - Mailing colorectal cancer tests to patients increases screening rates, report researchers
July 17, 2018 - Scientists find possible sources of medicinal and antimicrobial drugs
July 17, 2018 - Molecules formed when the body metabolizes omega-3 fatty acids may inhibit cancer
July 17, 2018 - Efficient communication between hospitals improves patient safety and reduces mortality
July 17, 2018 - Study highlights potential of fetal gene therapy to prevent lethal neurodegenerative disease
July 17, 2018 - For Americans, in Science They Trust
July 17, 2018 - Combating HIV/AIDS | NIH MedlinePlus the Magazine
July 17, 2018 - Study shows minorities widely underrepresented in autism diagnoses
July 17, 2018 - Multigene testing replacing BRCA tests for breast cancer risk | News Center
July 17, 2018 - Pre-clinical pilot study shows promising results of ‘concussion pill’
July 17, 2018 - Researchers reduce size of tumors in mice by artificially activating the brain’s reward system
July 17, 2018 - New study documents symptoms of people before they acquire multiple sclerosis
July 17, 2018 - Researchers discover why CRISPR gene editing sometimes fails
July 17, 2018 - New finding may hold key to better understand the complexities of neurological disorders
July 17, 2018 - The Current issue of “The view from here” is concerned with Novel Targets.
July 17, 2018 - Fighting the Flu with a Universal Vaccine
July 17, 2018 - Key social reward circuit in the brain impaired in kids with autism | News Center
July 17, 2018 - Insight into causes, types and treatment of aphasia
July 16, 2018 - Quark Pharmaceuticals, Inc Announces First Patient Dosed in Phase 3 Clinical Trial of QPI-1002 for Prevention of Acute Kidney Injury Following Cardiac Surgery
July 16, 2018 - NSAIDs shown to have causal role in cardiovascular risk of patients with osteoarthritis
July 16, 2018 - PET scan tracer predicts success of cancer ‘vaccine’ | News Center
July 16, 2018 - Parents struggle with what to do when their child has headache, shows study
July 16, 2018 - Outrageous or overblown? HHS announces another round of ACA navigator funding cuts
July 16, 2018 - Weight loss surgery may impact individual’s risk of developing cancer, shows study
July 16, 2018 - Alexion Submits Application for Priority Review and Approval of ALXN1210 as a Treatment for Patients with Paroxysmal Nocturnal Hemoglobinuria (PNH) in the U.S.
July 16, 2018 - Restoring epigenetic balance reinstates memory in flies with Alzheimer’s disease symptoms
July 16, 2018 - Magnetized wire could be used to detect cancer in people | News Center
July 16, 2018 - Non-surgical management found to be feasible option for penetrating kidney trauma
July 16, 2018 - California clinic screens asylum seekers for honesty
July 16, 2018 - FDA Approves Xtandi (enzalutamide) for the Treatment of Men with Non-Metastatic Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer (CRPC)
July 16, 2018 - Can nanotechnology help treat Alzheimer’s?
July 16, 2018 - Researchers identify protein essential for making stem cells | News Center
July 16, 2018 - Severe childhood infections linked with lower school achievement in adolescence
July 16, 2018 - Radiologist discusses causes, treatments of varicose veins
July 16, 2018 - Researchers develop nanostructured surface to accelerate wound healing after dental implants
July 16, 2018 - New non-invasive procedure to reposition kidney stones could benefit astronauts
July 16, 2018 - Attending Surgeon Influences Genetic Testing in Breast Cancer
July 16, 2018 - Medical doctors with addictions fear professional repercussions if they seek treatment
July 16, 2018 - 5 Questions: John Ioannidis calls for more rigorous nutrition research | News Center
July 16, 2018 - University of Illinois buys 3D-Bioplotter for regenerative biology, tissue engineering research
July 16, 2018 - Charité’s researchers integrate open-source platform into the ‘Human Brain Project’
July 16, 2018 - SUSU scientists develop rehabilitation device for people with lower limbs injuries
July 16, 2018 - Researchers find definite increase in scooter-related injuries
July 16, 2018 - Researchers solve mystery of final blood group system
July 16, 2018 - Researchers develop near-infrared fluorophores-based PDT to cure cancer with less side effects
July 16, 2018 - Traumatic brain injury biomarker could help predict patient prognosis
July 16, 2018 - Researchers to investigate role of hormones in mosquito’s ability to use human blood for egg production
July 16, 2018 - AHA: Doctor Makes Lifesaving House Call in His Own Home
July 16, 2018 - Nearsightedness – Genetics Home Reference
July 16, 2018 - Study shows biomarker panel boosts lung cancer risk assessment for smokers
July 16, 2018 - Researchers find link between bereavement during pregnancy, child’s mental health | News Center
July 16, 2018 - Legalizing same-sex marriage has meaningful effects on health care access for sexual-minority men
July 16, 2018 - New York to allow medical marijuana as substitute to opioids
July 16, 2018 - Reducing tapeworm infection could improve academic performance, reduce poverty | News Center
July 16, 2018 - Researchers describe key role of enzyme in regulating immune response against Chagas disease parasite
July 16, 2018 - Johnson & Johnson Announces Publication in The Lancet Highlighting Robust Immune Response to Janssen’s Mosaic-based Preventive Vaccine Regimen for HIV
July 16, 2018 - Do Racial and Gender Disparities Exist in Newer Glaucoma Treatments?
July 16, 2018 - Antibodies may predict transplant rejection risk
July 16, 2018 - New center sets out to stop disease before it starts | News Center
July 16, 2018 - FDA warns consumers about criminals sending fake warning letters
July 16, 2018 - Residential segregation linked with racial disparities in firearm homicide fatalities
July 16, 2018 - UW-Madison researchers develop new method to track Parkinson’s damage in the heart
July 16, 2018 - New approach to cultivate hypoallergenic tomato and strawberry varieties
July 16, 2018 - Smoking associated with delayed shinbone healing
July 16, 2018 - Sheila Dolezal, ‘team player extraordinaire,’ wins 2018 Amy J. Blue Award | News Center
July 16, 2018 - Advanced Prostate Cancer Variant More Common Than Thought
July 16, 2018 - New ways to conquer sleep apnea compete for place in bedroom
July 16, 2018 - Renowned microbe hunter Stanley Falkow dies at 84 | News Center
Adults skipping vaccines may miss out on effective new shingles shot

Adults skipping vaccines may miss out on effective new shingles shot

image_pdfDownload PDFimage_print

Federal officials have recommended a new vaccine that is more effective than an earlier version at protecting older adults against the painful rash called shingles. But persuading many adults to get this and other recommended vaccines continues to be an uphill battle, physicians and vaccine experts say.

“I’m healthy, I’ll get that when I’m older,” is what adult patients often tell Dr. Michael Munger when he brings up an annual flu shot or a tetanus-diphtheria booster or the new shingles vaccine. Sometimes they put him off by questioning a vaccine’s effectiveness.

“This is not the case with childhood vaccines,” said Munger, a family physician in Overland Park, Kan., who is president of the American Academy of Family Physicians. “As parents, we want to make sure our kids are protected. But as adults, we act as if we’re invincible.”

The new schedule for adult vaccines for people age 19 and older was published in February following a recommendation last October by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and subsequent approval by the director of the CDC. The most significant change was to recommend the shingles vaccine that was approved by the Food and Drug Administration last fall, over an older version of the vaccine.

The new vaccine, Shingrix, should be given in two doses between two and six months apart to adults who are at least 50 years old. The older vaccine, Zostavax, can still be given to adults who are 60 or older, but Shingrix is preferred, according to the CDC. In clinical trials, Shingrix was 96.6 percent effective in adults ages 50 to 59, while Zostavax was 70 percent effective. The differences were even more marked with age: Effectiveness in adults 70 and older was 91.3 percent for Shingrix, compared with 38 percent for Zostavax. Shingrix also provided longer-lasting protection than Zostavax, whose effectiveness waned after the first year.

The guidelines suggest that people who already had the Zostavax shot be revaccinated with Shingrix.

The two-shot series of Shingrix costs about $280, while Zostavax runs $213.

“What’s remarkable [about the new vaccine] is that the high level of immunity persists even in the very old,” said Dr. Anne Louise Oaklander, a neurologist who is an expert on shingles. “It’s pretty hard to get the immune system of older people excited about anything.”

Shingles is caused by the same varicella-zoster virus that causes chickenpox. The virus can re-emerge decades after someone recovers from chickenpox, often causing a painful rash that may burn or itch for weeks before it subsides. About 1 in 3 Americans will get shingles during their lifetime; there are roughly 1 million cases every year. People are more likely to develop shingles as they age, as well as develop complications like postherpetic neuralgia, which can cause severe, long-standing pain after the shingles rash has disappeared. In rare cases, shingles can lead to blindness, hearing loss or death.

Although shingles vaccination rates have inched upward in recent years, only a third of adults who were 60 or older received the Zostavax vaccine in 2016.

Other adult vaccine coverage rates are low as well: 45 percent for the flu vaccine and 23 percent each for pneumococcal and tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis vaccines.

In contrast, by the time children are 3 years old, typically more than 80 percent of kids, and frequently more than 90 percent, have received their recommended vaccines.

What gives? Cost can be a big deterrent for adult vaccines. The federal Vaccines for Children program helps parents whose kids are eligible for Medicaid or are uninsured cover the cost of vaccines up to age 19.

Adults with private insurance who get vaccines recommended by the CDC also are sheltered from high costs because the shots must be covered by most commercial plans without charging consumers anything out-of-pocket, under a provision of the Affordable Care Act. Patients, however, should confirm their coverage before requesting the new shingles vaccine, because insurers typically add new vaccines gradually to their formularies after they have been added to the recommended list, and consumers may need to wait a little while for coverage.

But vaccine coverage under the Medicare program for people age 65 and older is much less comprehensive. Vaccines to prevent influenza and pneumonia are covered without a copayment under Medicare Part B, which covers outpatient care.

Other vaccines, including the shingles vaccine, are typically covered under Part D drug plans, which may leave some beneficiaries on the hook for all or part of the cost of the two-shot series.

That can pose a significant problem for patients. “Not every Medicare beneficiary elects Part D, and even if you do, some have deductibles and copayments,” said Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious-diseases specialist at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

Even if adults want to get recommended vaccines, they sometimes lose track of which they have received and when. Pediatricians routinely report the vaccines they provide to state or city vaccination registries that electronically collect and consolidate the information. But the registries are not widely used for adults, who are more likely to get vaccines at various locations, such as a pharmacy or at work, for example.

“I’m always asking patients, ‘Did you get all the doses in the series?’ ‘Where did you get them?'” said Dr. Laura Riley, vice chair of obstetrics at Boston’s Massachusetts General Hospital who is a member of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. “It can be very challenging to track.”


Kaiser Health NewsThis article was reprinted from khn.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

Tagged with:

About author

Related Articles