Considerations For Patients Who Previously Received Zostavax
Studies have not examined the safety and immunogenicity of Shingrix administered less than 5 years following Zostavax vaccination. However, there are no data or theoretical concerns to indicate that Shingrix would be less safe or less effective when given at an interval shorter than 5 years following Zostavax. Since the risk of herpes zoster increases with age, providers should weigh a patients risk of herpes zoster with the age-specific protection expected from Zostavax to determine when to vaccinate with Shingrix.
Can You Get Shingles After Youve Been Vaccinated
While the shingles vaccine is highly effective, some people can still get shingles. However, people who do get shingles after getting the shingles vaccine usually have milder symptoms and a shorter illness. Youll also be less likely to have complications from shingles, including postherpetic neuralgia.
Side Effects Of The Shingles Vaccines
What patients can expect after Shingrix or Zostavax injections.
Any medicine, including vaccines, carries a risk of adverse events or side effects. The CDC estimates that vaccine-related reactions occur once in a million doses, usually within a few minutes or hours of the injection. Generally they are minor and subside within a day or two.
The two available vaccines for shingles-Shingrix and Zostavax-each has its own associated side effects. Patients should be informed about what to expect prior to vaccination to help them manage their expectations.
GSK, the manufacturer of Shingrix, says its most common side effects include pain, redness, and swelling at the injection site muscle pain tiredness headache shivering fever and upset stomach. While severe allergic reactions are less common, they may range from hives, swelling of the face and throat, and difficulty breathing to a fast heartbeat, dizziness, and weakness.
In Shingrix clinical trials, the majority of people complained of mild to moderate pain in their arm, as well as redness and swelling at the injection site. About one in six people experienced side effects that prevented them from doing regular activities for two to three days. These side effects were reportedly more common in younger people.
Both Merck, which manufacturers Zostavax, and GSK acknowledge that their vaccines may not protect all individuals, so some people who get shingles vaccine may still develop shingles.
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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 Practices recommendations 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.
Who Shouldn’t Get A Shingles Vaccine
The CDC says some people shouldn’t get the shingles vaccine. That includes those who:
- Have ever had a severe allergic reaction to any component of the vaccine or after a dose of Shingrix
- Tested negative for VZV immunity
- Currently have shingles
- Have a severe or moderate acute illness, such as a respiratory infection
Your healthcare provider can answer any questions you have about whether the vaccine is safe for you.
Read Also: Why Does A Person Get Shingles
What Vaccines Can Help Prevent Shingles
There is currently one vaccine available in the U.S. to prevent shingles. Shingrix was approved in 2017 and it is more than 90% effective in preventing shingles. With Shingrix, you get two shots between 2 and 6 months apart and protection lasts an estimated 4-5 years. Doctors recommend it for healthy people over 50 as well as those 19 years of age and older who are or will be immunodeficient or immunosuppressed due to disease or therapy..
An earlier vaccine called Zostavax was removed from the market in 2020. That vaccine used a weak form of the chickenpox virus to send your bodyâs immune system into action to fight the disease. Shingrix does not. If you received the Zostavax vaccine, it is recommended that you also receive Shingrix.
Rare Side Effects Of The Shingles Vaccine
In rare cases, a severe allergic reaction called anaphylaxis may occur. This can be a life-threatening emergency and requires immediate medical attention.
Symptoms of anaphylaxis after receiving the shingles vaccine include:
Typically, these side effects appear immediately or within a few minutes of vaccination your vaccination provider may be present. If you experience them after leaving the office, call 911.
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What Is The Shingles Vaccine
The shingles vaccine can protect you against shingles and postherpetic neuralgia , which is the most common complication of shingles. Shingles is a painful rash caused by the varicella-zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox. The rash usually develops on one side of your body or face. It starts with red bumps and then the bumps turn into fluid-filled blisters.
A New Shingles Vaccine
- U.S. News & World Report
If youre 50 or older, you’re advised to get immunized to protect yourself from shingles. If the new shingles vaccine made you feel worse than you expected, you’re not alone. Skin rash, joint pain, flu-like symptoms, headaches and fatigue are some complaints from patients who’ve had the recently approved Shingrix vaccine. Side effects can last two or three days, and the injection site in the upper arm can hurt. “Part of the problem is that health care providers may not have fully understood the instructions of administration,” said Talia Swartz, MD, PhD, assistant professor of medicine and infectious diseases at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Providers can refer to the website of Shingrix manufacturer GSK for complete administration instructions for this relatively unfamiliar vaccine, Dr. Swartz suggested. “As providers are more comfortable with it, I believe the administration errors would be expected to be reduced,” she said.
– Talia Swartz, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor, Medicine, Infectious Diseases, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Recommended Reading: What To Expect When You Have Shingles
Does The Shingles Vaccine Have Any Side Effects
The Shingrix vaccine is safe. The most common side effects include mild or moderate pain, redness, and swelling at the injection site. Some people experience headaches, fatigue, fever, or nausea, but these side effects are temporary and should not last more than a few days. Any side effects you may experience will be much less severe than having shingles.
The side effects are the result of your body creating a strong defense against shingles. You may have a reaction to the first, second, or both doses of Shingrix. Taking an over-the-counter pain medicine, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, can help relieve some side effects.
In clinical trials, serious side effects from Shingrix were extremely rare. For every one million doses of a vaccine given, only one or two people had a severe allergic reaction.
Is The Shingles Vaccine Safe
The FDA have approved the use of both shingles vaccines in healthy adults over the age of 50.
However, there are some instances in which a person should not get either vaccine â if they are pregnant or breastfeeding, allergic to any ingredient in the vaccine, or have a weakened immune system, for example.
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Side Effects Requiring Immediate Medical Attention
Along with its needed effects, zoster vaccine, inactivated may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur while taking zoster vaccine, inactivated:
- Ankle, knee, or great toe joint pain
- fever greater than 39 degree Celsius
- joint stiffness or swelling
- lower back or side pain
- swollen, painful, or tender lymph glands in the neck, armpit, or groin
Incidence not known
- Hives, welts, or itching
- inability to move the arms and legs
- large, hive-like swelling on the face, eyelids, lips, tongue, throat, hands, legs, feet, or sex organs
- redness of the skin
- sudden numbness and weakness in the arms and legs
Before Taking This Medicine
You should not receive Shingrix if you have ever had a life-threatening allergic reaction to inactivated zoster virus vaccine.
Tell your doctor if:
you have ever had an allergic reaction to any vaccine or
you have fainted after receiving an injection.
Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
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When They Start How Long They Last
The shingles vaccine is given in a two-shot series. You may experience side effects after the first, second, or both shots. Most of the time, these symptoms are mild and occur immediately following vaccination. They typically only last for two or three days.
Side effects of the shingles vaccine are more common in younger people, and might interrupt your normal daily activities for a few days.
This may seem like a downside of the shingles vaccine, but remember that these symptoms are a result of the creation of a strong shingles defense within your body.
It is OK to take Tylenol or Advil after a shingles vaccine to relieve symptoms. Rest and plenty of fluids may help, too.
Is The Vaccine Safe
The vaccine can be given to people with a previous history of shingles infection. It should not be given to anyone who currently has shingles. As stated above, the vaccine should not be given to people who are clinically immunosuppressed because the vaccine strain could replicate too much and cause a serious infection. For more information see the MHRA’s Drug Safety Update .
In clinical trials of the vaccine, there have been no reports of someone who was vaccinated passing the virus on to anyone else. However, because the shingles vaccine is a live vaccine, it is thought that this may be possible in rare cases.
There is thought to be a very small risk that someone who has been vaccinated could pass on the virus to someone who is not immune to chickenpox. This is only thought to be a risk if the person who has been vaccinated develops a shingles type rash at the injection site or elsewhere on the body.
The shingles vaccine is not recommended for pregnant women as a matter of caution. However, studies have been carried out on pregnant women who have accidentally received chickenpox or shingles vaccines. These have not shown any link between the weakened virus in the vaccine and any specific problems in babies born to these women. See this Public Health England statement for more information.
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Can The Shingles Shot Cause Guillain
Though rare, but Guillain-Barré syndrome can occur with both the shingles vaccine and the shingles virus itself.
Symptoms of this serious autoimmune disorder include a loss of sensation and muscle paralysis that tends to come on quickly, typically spreading up from your lower extremities.
It can be life-threatening, so contact a healthcare provider immediately if you think you may have symptoms.
How Do You Get Immunised Against Shingles
You can only get the shingles vaccine on its own, not as a combination vaccine. It is given as a needle.
Shingles vaccines include:
Note the Zostavax vaccine contains a small amount of the live virus. Some people may not be able to receive a live vaccine for medical reasons, please discuss with your doctor or immunisation provider for further information.
Read Also: Can Shingles Shot Give You Shingles
Who Should Not Get Zostavax
Some people should not get shingles vaccine :
The Shingles Prevention Study involved individuals age 60 years and older and found that Zostavax significantly reduced disease in this age group. The vaccine is currently recommended for persons 60 years of age and older.
- A person who has ever had a life-threatening or severe allergic reaction to gelatin, the antibiotic neomycin, or any other component of shingles vaccine. Tell your doctor if you have any severe allergies.
- A person who has a weakened immune system because of:
- HIV/AIDS or another disease that affects the immune system,
- treatment with drugs that affect the immune system, such as steroids,
- cancer treatment such as radiation or chemotherapy, or
- cancer affecting the bone marrow or lymphatic system, such as leukemia or lymphoma.
Someone with a minor acute illness, such as a cold, may be vaccinated. But anyone with a moderate or severe acute illness should usually wait until they recover before getting the vaccine. This includes anyone with a temperature of 101.3°F or higher.
This information was taken from the Shingles Vaccine Information Statement dated 10/06/2009.
Shingles Cases Have Been Increasing For Years
Heightened stress levels, exacerbated by the global pandemic, weaken immune systems and flare-ups are difficult to predict.
Most of these are coincidences, said infectious disease physician Dr. John Fried at St. Joseph Medical Center.
Fried, who has 30-plus years of practice in infectious disease, said if people havent received the shingles vaccine and got shingles after getting the COVID vaccine, its coincidence. He points to the history of the vaccines in general, highlighting its evolution. In its infancy, vaccine science was questioned by scientists too.
Infections were the leading cause of death 120 years ago, he said.
Public health has always been kind of underappreciated. People dont realize what didnt happen, he said.
Anything new may seem suspicious. But scientists these days have more resources at their disposal, new technology and decades of vetted research to build off of to produce safer and more effective vaccines.
Plus, Dr. Fried added, nothing is risk-free. In his expert opinion, a vaccine is worth it.
I love vaccines. They have reduced so much human misery and death, he said.
Yes, there are risks, he said, offering driving as one example of a risk that Americans take daily for the benefit of convenience. But he said vaccines are worth it for the publics health in the long run.
Bill Picking, a bacteriologist in the school of pharmacy at the University of Kansas, is not only an investigator of things like shingles and hives, he also had both.
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Does The Vaccine Work
In December 2017 Public Health England published an evaluation of the first three years of the shingles vaccination programme in England . This showed that the shingles vaccine was 62% effective against shingles and 70 to 88% effective against post-herpetic neuralgia in this period. Public Health England estimates that there were 17000 fewer GP consultations for shingles than expected in this 3-year period.
In the early 2000s researchers carried out a very large study of Zostavax, the shingles vaccine used in the UK, involving over 38,000 adults aged 60 or older. The results showed that:
- In adults aged between 60 and 70, the vaccine reduced the number of cases of shingles by 51.3%
- In adults aged over 70, the vaccine reduced the number of cases of shingles by 38%
- The vaccine reduced the incidence of post-herpetic neuralgia by over 66% in all age groups
- For those who did get shingles, the vaccine reduced the severity of the disease.
Read the abstract of this study , published in 2005 by Oxman et al.
Adults aged 80 or over are not offered the shingles vaccine. This is because the effectiveness of the vaccine declines with age in older age groups.
How Well Does Shingrix Work
Two doses of Shingrix provide strong protection against shingles and postherpetic neuralgia , the most common complication of shingles.
- In adults 50 to 69 years old with healthy immune systems, Shingrix was 97% effective in preventing shingles in adults 70 years and older, Shingrix was 91% effective.
- In adults 50 years and older, Shingrix was 91% effective in preventing PHN in adults 70 years and older, Shingrix was 89% effective.
- In adults with weakened immune systems, Shingrix was between 68% and 91% effective in preventing shingles, depending on their underlying immunocompromising condition.
In people 70 years and older who had healthy immune systems, Shingrix immunity remained high throughout 7 years following vaccination.
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Zostavax And The Pneumococcal Polysaccharide Vaccine
The Summary of Product Characteristics for Zostavax, the shingles vaccine used in the UK, states that the vaccine should not be given at the same time as the Pneumococcal Polysaccharide Vaccine . This is because a clinical trial by the manufacturer had suggested this might make Zostavax less effective. However, the Department of Health advice is that the two vaccines can be given at the same time. This is based on expert advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation , and on research that showed no evidence that people receiving both vaccines together had any increased risk of developing shingles. Read the abstract of the 2011 study by Tseng et al .
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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