6/23/2018: Fact Check: New Shingles Vaccine

Last week, Vermont Public Radio aired an 8-minute radio conversation vaccine promotion with Ric Cengeri (producer of Vermont Edition) and Christine Finley (State of Vermont ).1 A quick fact check on information about the vaccine that was provided on-air reveals that Ms. Finley drastically downplayed manufacturer warnings on possible adverse effects of this new vaccine. When asked what was “new” about this vaccine, Ms. Finley spoke of “amazing efficacy” and “comes in two shots”. But here is what she left out: Genetically engineered vaccine Shingrix® is a brand new, genetically engineered (GE) vaccine from GlaxoSmithKline. The FDA licensed it just 7 months ago, on October 20, 2017.2  This new GE vaccine contains3 residual DNA and protein from the Chinese Hamster Ovary (CHO) cells that were used to produce a recombinant used as antigen in the vaccine. Nobody knows what the true risk of injecting this cocktail of recombinant protein, residual CHO DNA plus residual CHO protein may be.4  Novel adjuvant This GE vaccine also contains a new adjuvant called AS01B, which has never before been used in a US licensed vaccine. After this new adjuvant was used in an infant malaria vaccine study outside the US, increased incidences of meningitis and severe malaria were observed in vaccinated subjects5 . Possible side effects Aside from the unknowns relating to the vaccine ingredients, in Prescribing Information6 the drug giant GlaxoSmithKline discloses that more than 50% of those vaccinated with Shingrix® during premarket clinical trials reported an adverse effect. The company lists chills, Read More