McKnight's Long-Term Care News, October 2018, Feature 2, Medication Management

More adults aged 60 and older are getting vaccinated for shingles — with an increase from 7% to 35% between 2008 and 2018. But the numbers are much lower in some groups than others, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

While men and women get vaccinated at the same rates, low-income adults and Black and Hispanic adults were less likely to get vaccinated than whites, the agency found. In fact, non-Hispanic white adults are about twice as likely as non-Hispanic Black and Hispanic adults to have ever received a shingles vaccine. This disparity in rates is consistent with findings for other vaccines, likely reflecting barriers in cost and access to healthcare, according to Kaiser Health News. 

The overall increase in vaccinations may be due in part by the introduction of the new vaccine Shingrix in 2017, the CDC adds. The discontinuation of Zostavax (the original and only shingles vaccine) will begin in 2020 and may further alter shingles vaccination patterns, it concludes. Shingrix is now the agency’s preferred vaccine. 

Shingles is a painful rash caused by the varicella zoster virus and is more likely to cause health complications in older adults. The CDC currently recommends that all adults aged 50 and over be vaccinated.