Shingles Vaccine Becoming Increasingly Common Among Older Adults


Although shingles can affect any age group, risks increase with age.

Shingles vaccination among adults has increased substantially over the past 10 years, according to a new National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) data briefing.

Shingles is a painful rash caused by varicella zoster virus. All ages are at risk for the virus, but the risk of shingles and the risk of complications increase with age, according to the brief. As of 2017, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices advised that all adults aged 50 years and older be vaccinated. Prior to 2017, it was only advised that adults aged 60 years and older receive a vaccination.

Data from the 2008-2018 National Health Interview Survey were used in the analysis. The survey showed that shingles vaccination among adults aged 60 years and older increased from just 6.7% in 2008 to 34.5% in 2018. The shingles vaccine was significantly more common in the West-North-Central region of the United states, with a 42.8% vaccination rate for adults over age 60. The East-South-Central region had a 26.3% vaccination rate.

Additionally, the vaccination rate was higher for those who were not poor and had more than a high school education, the brief states. The vaccination rate was similar between men (33.5%) and women (35.4%). However, there is a large racial disparity. Non-Hispanic white adults had a vaccination rate of 38.6%. According to the brief, this makes them twice as likely as non-Hispanic black adults (18.8%) and Hispanic adults (19.5%) to be vaccinated.

“While there has been a shingles vaccine available since 2006, a new vaccine was introduced in late 2017, and uptake in the market may have occurred differentially in 2018. The discontinuation of Zostavax, the shingles vaccine singly available prior to 2018, starting in 2020 may further alter shingles vaccination patterns,” the brief states.

The analysis also found that adults aged 70 years and older were more likely than those aged 60-69 years to have received a shingles vaccine. This was true for every year between 2008-2018, except for 2010, according to the NCHS.


Terlizzi, Emily P. et al. Shingles Vaccination Among Adults Aged 60 and Over: United States, 2018 (News Release), Atlanta, GA July, 2020, Centers For Disease Control, accessed July 16, 2020

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