NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – If you’ve ever had shingles or know someone who does, you know how painful it can be.
Now thousands of people aren’t able to get the vaccine. There’s a shortage that’s affecting supplies in our area.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported high demand and delays in getting Shingrix, the vaccine made by GlaxoSmithKlein.
Watch: Sen. Charles Schumer On Shingles Vaccine Shortage
Senator Charles Schumer said many pharmacies including CVS and other big name drug stores are out.
The virus causes a painful rash that can look like blisters on your body.
Shingles is most dangerous for the elderly or those with a weak immune system.
“It’s very concerning. I’m HIV positive so it’s extremely important for me to get the vaccine,” one person told CBS2’s Natalie Duddridge.
Anyone can get shingles, which causes painful rashes. But the older you are, the more likely you are to contract it and the more serious it can be.
Shingles is caused by the chickenpox virus. Once you have it, it can stay dormant in the body for decades, and can reemerge as shingles later in life.
Watch: Emergency Room Doctor On Shingles Vaccine Shortage
“Chickenpox the virus stays dormant basically for the rest of your life. If you have a period where your immune system isn’t functioning as well, you’re stressed or not sleeping, as well or older or pregnant… the virus can reactivate and cause shingles,” said Dr. Michele Lin of Mount Sinai Hospital.
The CDC blames manufacturing delays and high levels of demand for the shortage of the new vaccine, prompting Schumer to call for action. He held a news conference outside Moby Drugs in Farmingdale, Long Island, which is also out of the vaccine.
“Many people have been waiting for weeks for clear answers,” Schumer said. “We know one thing: The government shutdown makes it a lot harder to deal with this shortage.”
Schumer says the Food and Drug Administration has been operating with just 10 percent of its staff. They’re necessary for communicating with manufacturers and patients as to when the new shipments will be sent out.
The company that makes the vaccine has limited the amount of orders, and that means shipping delays are expected for the rest of the year.
“It is recommended for people my age, believe it or not I can’t get it and I’m a pharmacist!” another person told Duddridge.
The pharmaceutical company GSK is currently working to make more doses available and says soon they’ll release a shipment schedule for 2019. The CDC recommends all healthy adults 50 and older get both doses of Shingrix.