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New shingles vaccine in demand

Dave Shiner is a director at abc27 News. In his late 30's, he ended up with shingles.

"Luckily, they caught it very early, I did have chicken pox as a youth, but obviously, if you've had chicken pox, that's the only way you can get shingles," Shiner said.

Shiner is correct. He had a mild case of the virus.

"The actual bumps and sores weren't as bad as I've seen other cases," Shiner said.

The worst cases can cause painful blisters, rash, oversensitivity, and fatigue for days, even months.

"I'll be driving in my car and all of a sudden, it feels like someone is punching me in the side of my back," Shiner said.

"One of the feared complications of shingles is developing something called postherpetic neuralgia, which is a really painful condition,"  said Dr. Peter Kang of All Better Care.

While shingles is not common in people under 60, Kang says it can happen in younger people when there may be an association with stress. Stress, from medical to emotional, can weaken your immune system.

There are ways to ease the pain.

"They got me on the steroid fast and the medicine," Shiner said.

There are two vaccines to prevent shingles. The older is Zostavax.

"Zostavax came out in early 2000. It's still commercially available. The CDC recommends you get that after the age of 60," Kang said.

The newer vaccine is called Shingrix.

"That has shown to be more effective than the Zostavax, and because that one is more effective, the CDC is recommending you get that at the age of 50," Kang said.

But there is a catch.

"Well, it's hard to find. It just recently received FDA approval in 2017, so there's just not a lot of the vaccine out on the market yet," Kang said.

You can get the shingles more than once. If you have had it and are over 50 years old, Kang says you can still get the vaccine.

If you are 50 and under and want to get the vaccine, consult with your physician.

abc27 called many local pharmacies, physician offices, and other places that offer Shingrix and was told it's unavailable.


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