Ozarks man sits on shingles shot waiting list for a year amid nationwide shortage

Branson West, MO. -- One Branson West man waited about a year to get the shingles vaccine. However, he's certainly not alone. The nation is facing a shingles shot shortage.

At Lakeland Pharmacy in Branson West they're, like most drug stores, backed-up when it comes to giving people the shingles vaccine.

"There were times when we couldn't order it at all, when it was completely back-ordered," Pharmacist Amanda Adkins said. "They'll send us about 10 doses a month."

The nationwide shortage is leaving local families waiting.

"It's a horrible death," Lynn Mitchell said.

Mitchell, a Branson West local, says protecting himself from the virus is personal.

"I had lost two close friends that died from it. The widow of one of them, she made me promise that I'd always keep up with my shingles shot," Mitchell said.

He was on the waiting list at Walmart.

"I went to get the shot and that was a year ago," Mitchell said.

However, this week, he called another pharmacy that gave him the shot today.

"Go shop around and you can find one," Mitchell said.

The availability of the shot is inconsistent.

"Depending on how much vaccine your wholesaler has in stock, they'll allocate it and that's just to make sure everyone gets some," Adkins said.

The old shingles vaccine was about 50 percent effective. The new one is about 90 percent. That's why it's been in high-demand for about two years.
"The vaccine came out in 2017 and it's been short most of the time it's been out," Adkins said.

The newer shot takes two doses and is recommended for people 50 and older, instead of the 60 and older recommendation that came with the old one.

"They just didn't anticipate how many people would want it," Adkins said.

Still, Mitchell is urging others to seek out the shot for their own safety.

"It's a horrible disease and I just felt that some awareness had to be made about it," Mitchell said.

Some pharmacies will have a waiting list but others are offering the shingles shot on a first come, first served basis.

Adkins says she's been told the shortage could get better at the first of the year.