Herpes zoster vaccination among adults aged 60 years and older, in the U.S., 2008

Am J Prev Med. 2011 Feb;40(2):e1-6. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2010.10.012.


Background: Shingles (herpes zoster [HZ]) is a localized, generally painful and debilitating disease that occurs most frequently among older adults. It is caused by reactivation of varicella-zoster virus. HZ causes substantial morbidity, especially among older adults. The vaccine to prevent HZ was approved by Food and Drug Administration and recommended by the Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices for people aged ≥60 years in 2006 (these recommendations were published in 2008).

Purpose: To examine HZ vaccination among people aged ≥60 years in the U.S. in 2008.

Methods: Data from the 2008 National Health Interview Survey among people aged ≥60 years were analyzed in 2010. Multivariable logistic regression and predictive marginal analyses were conducted to identify factors independently associated with HZ vaccination. Potential missed opportunities also were assessed.

Results: By 2008, only 6.7% (95% CI=5.9%, 7.6%) of adults aged ≥60 years reported having had HZ vaccination. The level of HZ vaccination coverage was lower (4.7%) among people aged 60-64 years compared to people aged 65-74 years (7.4%); 75-84 years (7.6%); and ≥85 years (8.2%). Coverage was statistically higher for non-Hispanic whites (7.6%) compared with non-Hispanic blacks (2.5%) and Hispanics (2.1%). Among people aged ≥60 years who reported never receiving HZ vaccination, 95.1% reported at least one missed opportunity to be vaccinated. People more likely to report ever having been vaccinated were older, female, non-Hispanic white, married, more educated, and reporting received influenza vaccination in the past year.

Conclusions: By 2008, HZ vaccination coverage was 6.7%. The coverage level was low among all groups, but it was lowest among minority groups. Increased efforts are needed to remove barriers and to enable HZ vaccination among all adults aged ≥60 years.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Herpes Zoster / prevention & control*
  • Herpes Zoster Vaccine / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • United States
  • Vaccination / statistics & numerical data*


  • Herpes Zoster Vaccine