Shingles - Vaccine

What was your experience with getting the shingles vaccine?

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Can shingles be prevented with a vaccine?

In May 2006, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first vaccine for adult shingles. The vaccine known as Zostavax, is approved for use in adults ages 50 and over who have had chickenpox. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the vaccine for people 60 years of age and over who have had chickenpox. It is a onetime injection (shot) that does not need to be repeated. The shingles vaccine contains a booster dose of the chickenpox vaccine usually given to children. Tests over an initial four-year period showed that the vaccine significantly reduced the incidence of shingles in these older adults. The single-dose vaccine was shown to be more than 60% effective in reducing shingles symptoms, and it reduced the incidence of postherpetic neuralgia (PHN, see above) by at least two-thirds. Studies are ongoing to evaluate the effectiveness of the vaccine over a longer term. Even if you have had shingles, you can still have the vaccine to help prevent future outbreaks.

There are certain contraindications to receiving the shingles vaccine. People with weakened immune systems due to immune-suppressing medications, cancer treatment, HIV disease, or organ transplants should not receive the shingles vaccine because it contains live, weakened viral particles. There is not enough information available from researchers to decide at this point whether Zostavax may be beneficial in people younger than 60 years of age. Pregnant women should not receive the shingles vaccine.

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See what others are saying

Comment from: katmandu, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: May 28

It has been a nightmare trying to get the vaccine. If you are under age 60, you must have a prescription, pre-certified by the insurance company, and with no guarantees. I personally have had them (23) times in the past 10 years. I have also endured misdiagnosis I have a staph infection in my sinuses and was treated for shingles. For your own sake, demand that your doctor take a culture before beginning treatment.

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Comment from: Shirley, 75 or over Female (Patient) Published: August 01

I received the vaccine a year ago, and at that time, I had no side effects. But now I have shingles anyway. It is definitely worth getting the vaccine if it will reduce the chances for shingles by even a small amount.

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