FDA approves new shingles vaccine, Shingrix

WASHINGTON — The Food and Drug Administration has approved a new vaccine that helps prevent shingles in roughly 90 percent of people, CBS News reported.

Shingles,  a painful rash that’s caused by the varicella-zoster virus, remains dormant in a person’s system once they’ve had chickenpox. For some, the virus remains inactive, but for others, triggers such as stress and medication can cause a flare up.

It can also cause nerve pain that can last for several months or even years.

Shingles is most often seen in individuals with weaken immune systems such as the elderly.

GlaxoSmithKline’s (GSK) new vaccine, Shingrix, is the second shingles vaccine available in the United States. Research suggests it is 90 percent effective at preventing the shingles virus from resurfacing than its predecessor. The Merck vaccine is reportedly only 50 to 60 percent effective.

The new vaccine also lasts several years longer.

Most insurance plans will cover the costs of Shingrix and it’s recommended for adults ages 50 and over.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunizations Practices will take a vote on the use of Shingrix at its meeting this week. Once approved, the company said they will start looking at making the vaccine available to the public.

Canada has already approved the vaccine’s use.

Each year roughly one million Americans get the shingles.