The Particulars: A 2008 study found that the rate of herpes zoster (HZ) vaccination among patients aged 60 and older was just 6.7%, despite the FDA’s approval of a vaccine for the infection specifically for this age group in 2006. Data on vaccination rates are lacking for more recent years, as well as for patients aged 50 to 59 following an expanded indication in 2011 for the HZ vaccination to cover this age group.

Data Breakdown: An analysis of data from 2008 to 2011 found that HZ vaccination rates increased significantly during the study period, rising to 15.8% in 2011. Rates for those aged 50 to 59 increased from 2.9% in 2008 to 4.3% in 2011. Factors associated with vaccination included age 65 to 74 and age older than 85 when compared with age 60 to 64, female gender, Caucasian ethnicity, income at or above the poverty line, good health status, and high school or some college education.

Take Home Pearls: HZ vaccination rates appear to remain low among Americans aged 50 and older, particularly among the younger members of this age group. Vaccination rates appear to be lowest among non-Caucasians and those in lower socioeconomic groups.