What Else Do You Need To Make Your Decision
Check the facts
- That’s right. The vaccine greatly lowers your chances of getting shingles.
- Sorry, that’s wrong. The shingles vaccine greatly lowers your chances of getting shingles.
- It may help to go back and read “Get the Facts.” The shingles vaccine greatly lowers your chances of getting shingles.
- You’re right. But even if you do get shingles, your symptoms are likely to be much milder.
- Sorry, that’s wrong. You could still get shingles, but your chances are a lot lower with the vaccine.
- It may help to go back and read “Get the Facts.” You could still get shingles, but your chances are a lot lower with the vaccine.
- You’re right. The CDC recommends two doses of the shingles vaccine.
- Sorry, that’s wrong. The CDC recommends the shingles vaccine.
- It may help to go back and read “Get the Facts.” The CDC recommends the shingles vaccine.
1. How sure do you feel right now about your decision?
The Biology Behind That Blistering Rash
During the initial exposure to chickenpox, some of the virus particles settle into the nerve cells around the spinal cord and brain. When the virus reactivates sometimes decades later, as a result of things like stress it travels down those nerve fibers to the skin. As the virus multiplies, the telltale rash erupts.
How Common Is Shingles
Shingles is extremely common in the United States. Here are a few key statistics about the prevalence of herpes zoster among American adults:
- About 1 in 3 people in the United States will get shingles at some point.
- There are about 1 million shingles cases in the United States each year.
- Annually, there are four to five new shingles cases per 1,000 people in the United States.
- Around 1 in 2 shingles cases occur in people age 60 and older.
- Just under 1 in 15 people who get shingles will get it a second time.
Among young adults, shingles cases appear to have increased in recent years. Between 2008 and 2016, shingles rates among people ages 30 to 49 doubled, increasing from just over 2.0 to just over 4.0 cases per 1,000 people. Meanwhile, rates of new shingles cases among older adults have appeared to plateau since 2008.
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Reasons To Get The Shingles Vaccine
Once a person develops chickenpox after contracting the varicella-zoster virus, the virus never leaves the body. It remains dormant in the nerve roots and can reappear as shingles later in life.
The primary symptom of shingles is a painful rash on one side of the body, most often on the torso or face. People initially have pain or a burning sensation on the skin without a rash, and then painful blisters develop. The rash lasts approximately seven to 10 days and fully clears within two to four weeks.
The likelihood of developing shingles increases dramatically after age 50. Therefore, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that all adults age 50 and over receive two doses of Shingrix to prevent shingles. The vaccine is recommended even if a person is unsure if they have ever had chickenpox.
People with weakened immune systems are at higher risk for shingles. Therefore, the Food and Drug Administration also recently approved Shingrix vaccination for adults age 18 and older who are at risk for shingles due to immunodeficiency or immunosuppression caused by an underlying disease or medication.
When Should I Get The Second Dose
The CDC recommends that adults ages 50 and older get a second dose of Shingrix two to six months after their first dose. If youve waited longer than six months since your first dose of Shingrix, its safe to get a second dose right away. Most people dont need to repeat the first dose.
Some immunocompromised adults may need a second dose within one to two months. If you have a disease or are taking medication that affects your immune system, talk to your healthcare provider about the best timeline for your two doses of the shingles vaccine.
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I Received The Chickenpox Vaccine Can I Still Get Shingles
Chickenpox vaccine became widely available in the United States in 1995 and, since then, most children receive it as part of their routine vaccination schedule.
However, even vaccinated individuals can get chickenpox and subsequently shingles later in life due to waning immunity over time. In fact, research data actually shows that cases of shingles are increasing worldwide even though vaccination rates are also on the rise.
There are two possible reasons for this, says Dr. Kumar. First and foremost, people are living longer and as we age, our immune systems become less effective, leaving us more vulnerable to viral infections like shingles. Secondly, advances in immunosuppressant treatments for certain conditions are artificially suppressing the immune systems in people of all ages, also leaving them vulnerable, he adds.
Who Should Not Get The Shingles Vaccine
Some people shouldnt get the shingles vaccine. These people include those:
- Who currently have shingles.
- Who have had a severe allergic reaction to the shingles vaccine in the past.
- Who have tested negative for immunity to the varicella-zoster virus, meaning youve never had chickenpox. If youve never had chickenpox, you should get the chickenpox vaccine.
- Who are ill. You should wait until your illness has passed before receiving the shingles vaccine.
- Who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
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Who Should Not Get The Vaccine
It is safe for most people to get two doses of Shingrix. However, you should talk to your healthcare provider before getting the shingles vaccine if:
- You are pregnant
- You have severe allergies to any of the Shingrix ingredients
- You have ever experienced a severe allergic reaction to Shingrix
If you have a mild sickness, such as a cold, its usually safe to get the shingles vaccine. If you are moderately or severely ill, you should wait until you feel better to get your next dose of Shingrix.
You should still get the shingles vaccine if you dont remember having the chickenpox virus in the past and if youve had shingles previously. Shingrix can protect you against developing shingles again in the future.
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How Can You Prevent Shingles
Vaccination is the ONLY way to reduce the risk of getting shingles. The CDC recommends that people aged 50 years and older get two doses of the Shingrix® shingles vaccine.
If you have questions about your shingles vaccination, you should talk with your Rite Aid Pharmacist or other health care professional.
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How Is The Shingles Vaccine Made
The shingles vaccine available in the U.S., Shingrix®, contains a single protein from the surface of herpes zoster virus as well as two adjuvants: QS21 and monophosphoryl lipid A. QS21 is a soap-based molecule isolated from the bark of the Quillaja saponaria tree. Monophosphoryl lipid A is a detoxified form of lipopolysaccharide, a potent adjuvant taken from the surface of common bacteria.
The first shingles vaccine, called Zostavax®, is no longer available in the U.S. However, this version contained a more concentrated version of the same live, weakened virus as the current chickenpox vaccine. It contained about 14 times the amount of weakened chickenpox virus than the vaccine for children. This amount of virus was necessary to obtain a protective response in the aging immune systems of older adults. The introduction of Shingrix vaccine was important because adjuvants in the vaccine improved immune responses in older adults and decreased the need to use large quantities of the live, weakened virus also necessary to make chickenpox vaccine. For these two reasons Zostavax is no longer available in the U.S.
A Look At Each Vaccine: Shingles Vaccine
View the full-size infographic. A shingles vaccine is available for adults 50 years of age and older in the United States. The vaccine prevents much of the pain and suffering caused by shingles when the virus that causes chickenpox reawakens in those with aging or compromised immune systems.
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Is There Anything Else You Think Is Important For People To Know About The Shingles Virus Or The Vaccine
The best way to prevent shingles and avoid its complications is to get vaccinated. Data shows that almost everyone older than age 40 has been exposed to chickenpox at some point. Even if you dont remember having chickenpox as a child, you should get the vaccine.
Glen P. Carlson, MD, HealthPartners
*According to the CDC website: Zostavax is no longer available for use in the United States, as of November 18, 2020. If you had Zostavax in the past, you should still get Shingrix. Talk to your healthcare provider to determine the best time to get Shingrix.
Medicare Will Cover Shingles Vaccine In 2023
Starting in January 2023, Medicare will cover the cost of the shingles vaccine, Shingrix.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends adults 50 years and older get two doses of Shingrix two to six months apart to prevent complications from the disease shingles. Shingrix is more than 90 percent effective in preventing illness, according to the CDC. But for many people on Medicare, it had been unaffordable at more than $200 for the shot regimen.
The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 aims to reduce the cost of some drugs and close this barrier to good healthcare. As of January 2023, all vaccinations covered under Medicare part D that are approved and recommended by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid and the CDC will be covered without a copay. So, no cost-sharing will be associated with the administration of Shingrix, as well as flu shots tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis vaccines and COVID-19 vaccines.
What is shingles?
Shingles is an invasive, painful outbreak of rash or blisters on the skin that can damage your vision or hearing, make you lose hair, and cause long-term nerve pain. It is caused by the varicella-zoster virusthe same virus that erupts in chickenpox. After you have chickenpox, the virus stays in your body. It may not result in problems for many years, but as you get older, the virus may reappear as shingles.
Is shingles contagious?
Who is at risk for shingles?
What are the symptoms of shingles?
How is shingles diagnosed?
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Is Shingrix Or Zostavax More Effective
Shingrix and Zostavax have both been proven to prevent shingles. However, Shingrix is a newer vaccine that is considered more effective than Zostavax. Shingrix is even recommended for those who have already received the Zostavax vaccine in the past.
Clinical trials have shown that Shingrix is around 97% effective at preventing shingles in adults aged 50 to 69 years old. Shingrix is also effective in preventing shingles in older adultsin adults over the age of 70, Shingrix was found to be around 90% effective.
Zostavax has a 70% efficacy rate in preventing shingles in adults aged 50 to 69 years old, according to the Zoster Efficacy and Safety Trial . Results from the Shingles Prevention Study showed that, overall, Zostavax is 51% effective against shingles in adults older than 60 years old. However, the effectiveness of Zostavax . Zostavax is 64% effective in adults aged 60 to 69 years old, 41% effective in adults aged 70 to 79 years old, and 18% effective in adults aged 80 years and older.
Your healthcare provider will recommend Shingrix over Zostavax, as Shingrix is the preferred shingles vaccine and Zostavax is no longer available. Shingrix is especially recommended for immunocompromised patients since it is a non-live vaccine. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about the right shingles vaccine for you.
Possible Side Effects From Vaccines
Any vaccine can cause side effects. For the most part these are minor and go away within a few days. Listed below are vaccines licensed in the United States and side effects that have been associated with each of them. This information is copied directly from CDCs Vaccine Information Statements , which in turn are derived from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practicesrecommendations for each vaccine.
Remember, vaccines are continually monitored for safety, and like any medication, vaccines can cause side effects. However, a decision not to immunize a child also involves risk and could put the child and others who come into contact with him or her at risk of contracting a potentially deadly disease.
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Swelling Around The Injection Site
Swelling around the injection site is another common side effect of Shingrix. Like pain and redness, minor swelling can usually result from a localized immune system response, which isnt necessarily dangerous.
You can apply hydrocortisone cream on or around the injection site to reduce redness and swelling. However, if you experience severe swelling that doesnt go away, or the swelling accompanies other symptoms of an allergic reaction, seek medical attention right away.
How Is Shingles Diagnosed And Treated
If you think you might have shingles, talk to your doctor as soon as possible. Its important to see your doctor no later than three days after the rash starts. The doctor will confirm whether you have shingles and can make a treatment plan. Most cases can be diagnosed from a visual examination. If you have a condition that weakens the immune system, your doctor may order a shingles test. Although there is no cure for shingles, early treatment with antiviral medications can help the blisters clear up faster and limit severe pain. Shingles can often be treated at home.
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Shingles Early Treatment And Prevention
There is no cure for shingles. However, if administered within 72 hours of a shingles diagnosis, antiviral medications can help to shorten the length of the illness and reduce its effects.
Shingles is a vaccine-preventable disease. It is recommended that people who have a higher risk of shingles get two doses of Shingrix . The shingles vaccine works to prevent both shingles and related complications like PHN.
How Does The Shingles Vaccine Work
People with a weakened immune system cannot have live vaccines. They will be offered a non-live vaccine called Shingrix. It activates the immune system but also contains an ingredient called an adjuvant, which helps to boost the response to the vaccine.
Very occasionally, people develop chickenpox following shingles vaccination . Talk to a GP if this happens to you.
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Who Should Not Get Shingrix
You should not get Shingrix if you:
- Have ever had a severe allergic reaction to any component of the vaccine or after a dose of Shingrix.
- Currently have shingles.
- Currently are pregnant. Women who are pregnant should wait to get Shingrix.
If you have a minor illness, such as a cold, you may get Shingrix. But if you have a moderate or severe illness, with or without fever, you should usually wait until you recover before getting the vaccine.
Personal Stories About Considering A Shingles Vaccine
These stories are based on information gathered from health professionals and consumers. They may be helpful as you make important health decisions.
I talked to my doctor about the shingles vaccine and I think I’m going to get it. My wife had shingles 2 years ago, and she was really in a lot of pain. If I can avoid that by getting a vaccine, it will really be worth it to me.
I’m not going to get a vaccine, at least not right now. I don’t like to take medicines of any kind if I don’t have to.
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Risks Of A Vaccine Reaction
- A sore arm with mild or moderate pain is very common after recombinant shingles vaccine. Redness and swelling can also happen at the site of the injection.
- Tiredness, muscle pain, headache, shivering, fever, stomach pain, and nausea are common after recombinant shingles vaccine.
These side effects may temporarily prevent a vaccinated person from doing regular activities. Symptoms usually go away on their own in 2 to 3 days. You should still get the second dose of recombinant shingles vaccine even if you had one of these reactions after the first dose.
Guillain-BarrÃ© syndrome , a serious nervous system disorder, has been reported very rarely after recombinant zoster vaccine.
People sometimes faint after medical procedures, including vaccination. Tell your provider if you feel dizzy or have vision changes or ringing in the ears.
As with any medicine, there is a very remote chance of a vaccine causing a severe allergic reaction, other serious injury, or death.
Shingles Vaccine Side Effects
Like all vaccines, the shingles vaccines can cause side effects, but theyre generally mild and do not last long.
Common side effects that occur in at least 1 in 10 people are:
- redness, pain, swelling, itching and warmth at the injection site
If any side effects carry on for longer than a few days, speak to your GP or practice nurse.
Tell your GP if you develop a rash after having the shingles vaccination.
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