Good Question: Where are the vaccines?

April 08, 2019 09:28 AM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) -- It protects you from an extremely painful virus but many of you can't get the vaccine.

Pat Taney was asked to look into it for this week's Good Question report.


This impacts thousands of people right here in our area. Many of them waiting months, in some cases over a year, to protect themselves from getting shingles.

"Shingles is a virus that lays latent from the chicken pox virus that people had when they were younger. Over time, it can become active and cause the shingles virus," said pharmacist Jason Dennie who works at Rochester Regional Health's Reidman Health Center.

The vaccine is for people like Ernie Dusett, whose son works at News10NBC.

Ernie is over 50, had chicken pox when he was younger and had a family member infected with shingles.

"So I am at risk and told myself, 'I've got to get the vaccine.'"

That vaccine is SHINGRIX and it is the most effective on the market.

"I put my name in and I waited a long time. I'm going to say six months to a year." 

Ernie got his first dose but this is a two-shot vaccine. In order for it to work, the second shot should be administered within two to six months.

The problem? There are very few doses available at local pharmacies which worries pharmacists like Dennie.

"We don't have them to get to these people who got that first dose to get them satisfied within that two to six-month range," Dennie said.

News10NBC reached out to the drug maker, GlaxoSmithKline. A spokesperson said the vaccine takes six to nine months to manufacture and they're working to pump out more supply this year. 

"Looking ahead, GSK plans to make twice-monthly shipments of SHINGRIX in large volumes into the marketplace throughout 2019. Over the next two to three years, we plan to build our capacity to supply doses in the high tens of millions, annually," spokesperson Gwynne Oosterbaan said.

According to GSK, 70 percent of people are getting their second dose on time. They're working to increase that number.

So what should you do if you're nearing your deadline?

"If you're in a situation where you got your first one and coming close to the two to six-month window, then you just have to start shopping around, " Dennie said.

"You have to call your pharmacy to see if they have it."

GSK also has a SHINGRIX finder tool on its website which can help you locate a pharmacy that may have it in stock or one where it will soon be available.

You can find that by clicking here.

You're maybe asking why another drug company doesn't come up with a vaccine to help meet the demand. GSK owns the market on this vaccine. It has a patent for SHINGRIX which gives the company sole distribution.

The patent is good for about 15 more years.

If you have a question for Pat, email him at


Pat Taney

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