Walgreens expands access to shingles vaccine

DEERFIELD, Ill. — With shingles vaccines widely reported to be in short supply from some healthcare providers, Walgreens on Monday announced the expansion of its availability of Zostavax — a one-time vaccine that can reduce the risk of shingles in individuals ages 60 years and older — and now is offering shingles vaccinations daily at more than 2,000 Walgreens stores and Take Care Clinics.

"Our pharmacists, Take Care Clinic nurse practitioners and other healthcare professionals have been instrumental in creating a growing awareness of the benefits of the shingles vaccine, and in educating the public on why it's particularly important for those over 60 [years]," stated Kermit Crawford, Walgreens president of pharmacy services. "Walgreens' network of more than 26,000 certified immunizers has demonstrated our unique capabilities to provide a wide range of [the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention]-recommended vaccinations when it's most convenient for our patients."

The CDC recommends Zostavax for those older than 60 years of age to help reduce the risk of shingles. The agency estimated nearly one-third of Americans will develop shingles at some point, with more than 1 million people in the United States developing the painful skin rash or nerve disease each year. Shingles can affect anyone who has had chickenpox; however, it is most common in people ages 50 years and older.