UK launch of Shingrix now possible after unanticipated high global demand

Vaccine available via private providers and the national shingles immunisation programme for eligible individuals for whom the current vaccine on the programme is contraindicated

GlaxoSmithKline plc (LSE/NYSE: GSK) today announced that Shingrix, a vaccine to help protect adults against shingles, is now available in the United Kingdom.

The vaccine is licensed to prevent shingles in adults aged 50 years and older as well as in adults 18 years of age or older who are at increased risk of shingles. It also prevents post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN), a common complication of shingles.[i],[ii]

This vaccine will be available for eligible adults to purchase via various pharmacy chains, private GP clinics and other healthcare settings where a service is set-up.

From 1 September 2021, it is also available via the current national shingles immunisation programme for patients aged 70 to 79 years who are eligible for shingles vaccination but are clinically contraindicated to receive the current vaccine on the programme due to being immunocompromised.3

Karen Mullen, Medical Director UK & Ireland, GSK, said: “The risk of shingles increases with age as the immune system gradually becomes less effective in mounting a strong response to infection. Shingrix was developed specifically to overcome this decline in immune function and to help protect people as they get older. We are pleased that people in the UK will now have access to this vaccine to help reduce the burden of this painful disease.”

Marian Nicholson, Director, Shingles Support Society, said: “Shingles can be very painful. This pain is described as burning, shooting, stabbing or even constant unbearable itching. It does not happen to everyone, and it may only last for a few weeks, but some people can experience pain for months, or longer, and it is very difficult to treat. For this reason, we welcome any new options to help prevent shingles and associated pain.”

Following high global demand for this vaccine, this UK launch is now possible as part of GSK’s ongoing commitment to ensuring more people can benefit from our innovative vaccines. Over the coming years, GSK expects to increase supply globally and make the vaccine available to even more people who can benefit from it.

About Shingles

Shingles is a painful condition caused by the reactivation of the varicella zoster virus (VZV), the same virus that causes chickenpox. In the UK, 90% of adults have had chickenpox so will have VZV dormant in their nervous system.4

The risk of VZV reactivating and causing shingles increases with advancing age, particularly in adults 50 years of age or older.5,6 This is because as we get older there is a decline in our immune system’s ability to prevent and fight infection.The lifetime risk of developing shingles is 1 in 4.7

Shingles typically presents as a painful rash that develops on one side of the body and usually lasts for several weeks.8 While most people recover fully, shingles can potentially lead to serious and long-lasting complications.5 PHN is the most common complication of shingles, occurring in around 20% of all shingles cases.9 PHN is prolonged nerve pain in the area affected by shingles that can last for months or even longer.

About Shingrix

Shingrix [Herpes Zoster vaccine (recombinant, AS01B adjuvanted)] is a non-live, recombinant subunit vaccine. The vaccine combines an antigen, glycoprotein E, and an adjuvant system, AS01B. The vaccine is administered intramuscularly. The vaccination schedule consists of two doses.

Important Safety Information for Shingrix

  • Shingrix should not be given to somebody who has had an allergic or anaphylactic reaction to any of the active substances or excipients in this vaccine. Appropriate medical treatment and supervision should always be readily available in case of an anaphylactic event following the administration of the vaccine.
  • In safety data from clinical trials and post-marketing surveillance, the most common adverse reactions are injection site reactions (such as pain, redness, swelling), fatigue, chills, fever, muscle pain, headaches and gastrointestinal symptoms (i.e. nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain).1,2
  • Shingrix is not indicated for the prevention of primary varicella infection (chickenpox).
  • The vaccine is intended for prevention and is not intended for treatment of established clinical disease.
  • As with any immunisation, vaccination may not protect all individuals.


[i] Shingrix, GB Summary of Product Characteristics (SPC).

[ii] Shingrix, NI Summary of Product Characteristics (SPC).

3. PHE. Shingles immunisation programme: introduction of Shingrix® letter. August 2021. Available at: Accessed August 2021.

4. DH Green Book Ch 34. Varicella. 2019. Available at: Accessed: August 2021.

5. Johnson RW et al. Herpes zoster epidemiology, management, and disease and economic burden in Europe: a multidisciplinary perspective. Ther Adv Vaccines. 2015;3(4):109–120.

6. Gauthier A et al. Epidemiol Infect. 2009;137(1): 38-47.

7. DH Green Book Ch 28a. Shingles. 2021. Available at: August 2021.

8. National Health Service, 2018. Shingles. Accessed: August 2021.

9. National Health Service, 2021. Post-Herpetic Neuralgia. Accessed August 2021.

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