Walgreens makes Shingrix available chainwide

Walgreens on Thursday announced that GlaxoSmithKline's Shingrix, the first new shingles vaccine in more than a decade, is now available at most Walgreens and Duane Reade pharmacies across the U.S., including Puerto Rico. Beginning March 15, the vaccine will also be available at all Walgreens Healthcare Clinics.

“Vaccination remains the best and only protection against the shingles virus,” Tasha Polster, vice president, immunizations for Walgreens, said. “By adding Shingrix to our immunizations offering, we are even better equipped to care for our patients as we strive to keep our communities healthy.”

Shingrix was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Oct. 20 for use in adults aged 50 years and older.

Healthy adults age 50 and older should receive two doses of Shingrix two to six months apart, even if they have previously received a shingles vaccine, have had shingles or if they are uncertain if they have previously had chickenpox.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices this past fall voted in favor of three recommendations for the use of GlaxoSmithKline's Shingrix (Zoster Vaccine Recombinant, Adjuvanted) containing QS-21 Stimulon for the prevention of shingles.

The three recommendations include:

  • Herpes Zoster subunit vaccine (Shingrix) is recommended for the prevention of herpes zoster and related complications for immunocompetent adults age 50 year and older;

  • Herpes Zoster subunit vaccine (Shingrix) is recommended for the prevention of herpes zoster and related complication for immunocompetent adults who previously received Zoster Vaccine Live (Zostavax); and

  • Herpes Zoster subunit vaccine (Shingrix) is preferred over Zoster Vaccine Live (Zostavax) for the prevention of herpes zoster and related complications.

Shingles is a major public health issue in the US, impacting as many as 1 in 3 older adults over the age of 50 years. Shingles is caused by a virus called varicella zoster, which is also known as the chicken pox virus. Nearly all older adults have the varicella zoster virus dormant in their nervous system waiting to reactivate with advancing age and weakened immune systems.