Zostavax Still Recommended Only for Those 60 and Over

Supply and data issues influence committee decision

THURSDAY, Nov. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Despite the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's expansion of the indication for herpes zoster vaccination to include a younger cohort, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) still recommends the vaccine only for adults 60 and older, according to a report published in the Nov. 9 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report.

Rafael Harpaz, M.D., of the CDC in Atlanta, and colleagues examined the decision of the ACIP to decline recommending the vaccination of adults 50 to 59 against herpes zoster.

The herpes zoster vaccine, Zostavax, was originally approved for adults 60 and older; in March of this year, the FDA extended the indication for Zostavax to adults aged 50 to 59. The vaccine, however, is in short supply, and long-term data is scant, thus the ACIP stands by its original recommendation of vaccination only for adults 60 and older.

"Considering all available evidence and the supply issues, ACIP declined to recommend the use of herpes zoster vaccine among adults aged 50 through 59 years and reaffirmed its existing recommendation that herpes zoster vaccine be routinely recommended for adults aged 60 years and older," the authors write.

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