New GSK shingles vaccine available in UK

New shingles vaccine available in UK

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has announced that Shingrix, a vaccine to help protect adults against shingles, is now available in the United Kingdom.

The vaccine is licensed to prevent shingles in adults aged 50 years and older as well as in adults 18 years of age or older who are at increased risk of shingles. It also prevents post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN), a common complication of shingles[1],[2].

The vaccine will be available for eligible adults to purchase via various pharmacy chains, private GP clinics and other healthcare settings where a service is set-up.

From 1 September 2021, it is also available via the current national shingles immunisation programme for patients aged 70 to 79 years who are eligible for shingles vaccination but are clinically contraindicated to receive the current vaccine on the programme due to being immunocompromised[3].

Karen Mullen, Medical Director UK & Ireland, GSK, said: The risk of shingles increases with age as the immune system gradually becomes less effective in mounting a strong response to infection. Shingrix was developed specifically to overcome this decline in immune function and to help protect people as they get older. We are pleased that people in the UK will now have access to this vaccine to help reduce the burden of this painful disease.”

Marian Nicholson, Director, Shingles Support Society, said: Shingles can be very painful. This pain is described as burning, shooting, stabbing or even constant unbearable itching. It does not happen to everyone, and it may only last for a few weeks, but some people can experience pain for months, or longer, and it is very difficult to treat. For this reason, we welcome any new options to help prevent shingles and associated pain.”

Following high global demand for the vaccine, GSK expects to increase supply globally and make the vaccine available to even more people who can benefit from it.

References

[1] Shingrix, GB Summary of Product Characteristics (SPC).

[2] Shingrix, NI Summary of Product Characteristics (SPC).

[3] PHE. Shingles immunisation programme: introduction of Shingrix® letter. August 2021. Available at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/shingles-immunisation-programme-introduction-of-shingrix-letter/shingles-immunisation-programme-introduction-of-shingrix-letter#introduction-of-shingrix-for-immunocompromised-individuals-for-whom-zostavax-is-clinically-contraindicated. Accessed August 2021.