TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 2016

Shingles vaccine only administered to four percent of patients

A vaccine that is proven to prevent shingles in nearly half of patient cases is only administered four percent of the time, a study published in the PLoS Medicine journal this week found.

Sinead Langan from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine lead the study of the shingles vaccine by studying the records of over 760,000 Medicare patients over 65-years-old, looking at their medical complications and the resulting treatment between 2007 and 2009.

Over the course of analysis, Langan found 13,000 new cases of shingles diagnoses, with 3.9 percent administered the vaccine. The vaccine has been proven to reduce the incident of shingles by 48 percent. The vaccine was also found to be effective against post-herpetic neuralgia in 59 percent of cases.

Vaccine administration was particularly low in African Americans at 0.3 percent and among low-income populations at 0.6 percent.

"Despite strong evidence supporting its effectiveness, clinical use remains disappointingly low with particularly low vaccination rates in particular patient groups," the study's authors said.

This study is relevant for countries outside of the U.S. as well that are looking for an answer to control shingles and post-herpetic neuralgia breakouts, the authors added.