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.
What If There Is A Serious Problem
An allergic reaction could occur after the vaccinated person leaves the clinic. If you see signs of a severe allergic reaction , call 9-1-1 and get the person to the nearest hospital.
For other signs that concern you, call your health care provider.
Adverse reactions should be reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System . Your health care provider will usually file this report, or you can do it yourself. Visit the VAERS website at www.vaers.hhs.gov or call 1-800-822-7967. VAERS is only for reporting reactions, and VAERS staff members do not give medical advice.
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Side Effects Of Getting The Vaccine
Like all vaccines, the shingles vaccines can cause side effects, but they’re generally mild and do not last long.
Common side effects that occur in at least one in 10 people are:
- redness, pain, swelling, itching at the injection site
If the side effects continue for more than a few days, contact your GP or practice nurse.
Tell your GP if you develop a rash after having the shingles vaccination.
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What Shingles Vaccines Are Available
Initially, there were two types of vaccines licensed and recommended for the prevention of shingles in the US:
The zoster vaccine live
Recombinant zoster vaccines
Zostavax was approved and licensed by the FDA² in 2006. The vaccine minimizes the risk of getting shingles by 51% and postherpetic neuralgia by 61%. Moreover, it is given in one dose as a shot.
Furthermore, Zostavax is recommended for people 60 and older. It contains a weakened varicella-zoster virus therefore, it is not ideal for people with a weakened immune system.
However, the shingles vaccine Zostavax is no longer available in the US as of November 2020.³
Preventing Shingles From Making You Tired
The only way to keep shingles from making you tired is to not get shingles, and the only way to do that is to get vaccinated.
Getting vaccinated for shingles can help you to avoid shingles, PHN, and the fatigue thats associated with these conditions. Vaccination is important, even if youve already had shingles or if you had chickenpox as a child.
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Side Effects Of Shingrix
Shingrix comes with one drawback, though, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . Some of thecommon side effects, like arm pain, redness at the injection site, muscle pain and fevers became more common. They can last up to three days and be intense enough to limit your activity during that time.
Injection-site reactions during the clinical trial were common. Heres what patients experienced:
If you have pain or swelling at the injection site, Baker says, You can take Tylenol or ibuprofen. She adds that injection-site reactions like pain, redness and swelling expected and normal.
Systemic effects were also common, with 10% of people reporting that the symptoms were intense enough to limit their activity. Others reported the following:
- 17% gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea or diarrhea
If you are experiencing systemic symptoms after taking the vaccination, Baker says, Its certainly fine to take through the first two to three days when having symptoms. If the symptoms last longer than that, she says its time to call your healthcare provider.
The vaccine also may increase the risk of Guillain-Barre syndrome, a rare complication that can cause temporary paralysis.
As with any vaccine, anaphylactic shock is less likely, but a possible reaction. If you have hives, swelling of the face or throat, difficulty breathing or an elevated heart rate within hours of receiving the vaccine, you should contact your healthcare provider right away.
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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Complications Of The Shingles Vaccine
Some research has linked Shingrix with minimal risk for Guillain-Barré syndrome .
GBS is a rare neurological disorder that can cause temporary weakness or, in extreme cases, paralysis. But even in those severe cases, most people recover from GBS .
While the link between Shingrix and GBS is uncertain, some research has found an increased riskabout six additional GBS cases per 1 million peopleamong those age 65 or older who were vaccinated with Shingrix. All of those cases occurred within 42 days of the initial Shingrix shot .
Along with those links to GBS, Shingrix can, in rare cases, cause a severe allergic reaction. According to the CDC, only 1 or 2 people out of 1 million who receive the Shingrix vaccine will have this kind of reaction .
The symptoms of an allergic reaction to Shingrix start within minutes or hours and include:
If you have any of these symptoms, get medical attention immediately .
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How Effective Is The Shingles Vaccine
Very. Research has found that in people older than age 50, Shingrix reduces the risk of developing shingles by 97% . The vaccine isnt quite as effective in older adults among those 70 and older, Shingrix reduces the risk of developing shingles by 90% .
Along with significantly lowering your risk for shingles, Shingrix also reduces your risk for postherpetic neuralgiaa common chronic pain condition that stems from an outbreak of shingles blisters .
Who Should Get The Shingles Vaccine
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says you should get a shingles vaccine if you:
- Are an adult aged 50 and older
- Have never had shingles
- Have had shingles before
- Aren’t sure whether you’ve had chickenpox
- Have been previously vaccinated with the Zostavax shingles vaccine
- Are age 19 or older and are immunodeficient or immunosuppressed because of disease or therapy
What Does The Shingles Vaccine Cost
That depends. Some insurers cover the shingles vaccinein whole or in partwhile others do not. Likewise, Medicare and Medicaid may or may not cover the vaccine .
If youre paying out of pocket, the shingles vaccine can be quite expensivemore than $150. Thats according to Gourd, a for-profit company that tracks the cost of vaccines and other medicines .
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Can The Shingles Shot Make You Sick
In rare cases, the live shingles vaccine, Zostavax, can cause a skin rash or shingles.
The rash that occurs with shingles can affect any area of the body, but it often appears as a line of blisters that wraps around the torso.
Within a few days the blisters cluster, and they continue to form for several more days. The blisters can take 2â3 weeks to heal, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.
Other common symptoms of shingles include:
two shingles vaccines for adults: the recombinant zoster vaccine and the zoster virus vaccine .
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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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.
Itchy Skin Near The Injection Site
Itchy skin, also called pruritus, can potentially occur near the injection site after receiving Shingrix. Itching, swelling, and redness arent usually a huge cause for concern, as they often occur together as a localized reaction.
Applying Benadryl gel or hydrocortisone cream around the injection area can help reduce itchy, swollen, or red skin. If the itching worsens or spreads away from the injection site, get in touch with your doctor.
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What To Do When Shingles Makes You Tired
If youre experiencing fatigue during or after shingles, try out some of the suggestions below to help you cope.
- Set up a sleep routine. Pain from shingles or PHN can make it hard to sleep. However, setting up a regular sleep routine may help you get to sleep a little easier. Try setting a firm bedtime, or doing something relaxing before going to sleep.
- Reduce stress. Stress can really sap your energy. Additionally, if you have shingles, stress may make your symptoms worse. Because of this, try to find ways to effectively reduce your stress levels.
- Eat often. Eating often may help you keep your energy levels up while youre feeling tired. Try to space out meals and healthy snacks out so that youre eating something every few hours.
- Stay hydrated. Dehydration can make you feel fatigued or sluggish, so make sure youre getting enough fluids.
- Reach out. Try to reach out to family and friends for their support and understanding. If fatigue is significantly affecting your mood and daily life, it may also be beneficial to engage with a support group or a mental health professional.
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.
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Vaccine Side Effects & Injury Lawyers
If you or a loved one has been the victim of a vaccine side effect, you should contact a vaccine lawyer with experience in this type of complex litigation.
We have recently partnered with Schmidt & Clark, LLP a Nationally recognized law firm who handles vaccine lawsuits in all 50 states.
The lawyers at the firm offer a Free Confidential Case Evaluation and may be able to obtain financial compensation for you or a loved one by filing a vaccine lawsuit or claim with The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. Contact Schmidt & Clark today by using the form below or by calling them directly at .
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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Another Jab At Shingles
In October 2018, the FDA approved Shingrix, a two-shot shingles vaccine for patients 50 and older. To be the most effective, patients must get the second shot between two to six months after the first. Clinical trials demonstrated that it was 91% to 97% effective in preventing shingles, and that protection seems to stay strong, at least for the first four years in the patients who were tracked.
There has slowly been uptick, but still very large group of those aged 50 and older who have not received it, saysNatalie Baker, DNP, president of the gerontological advanced practice nursing association .
Given its improved efficacy and the fact that the efficacy of Zostavaxwanes over the course of a few years, regulators recommended getting the Shingrix shots even if you already received Zostavax, which was discontinued in 2020. A lot of our older adults have received Zostavax, but, unfortunately, it just does not continue to be effective, she says, explaining that even those patients should get the Shingrix vaccine.
When Should I See A Doctor Because Of The Side Effects I Experience From Shingrix
Shingrix causes a strong response in your immune system, so it may produce short-term side effects. These side effects can be uncomfortable, but they are expected and usually go away on their own in 2 or 3 days. You may choose to take over-the-counter pain medicine such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Contact your healthcare provider if the symptoms are not improving or if they are getting worse.
In clinical trials, Shingrix was not associated with serious adverse events. In fact, serious side effects from vaccines are extremely rare. For example, for every 1 million doses of a vaccine given, only one or two people might have a severe allergic reaction. Signs of an allergic reaction happen within minutes or hours after vaccination and include hives, swelling of the face and throat, difficulty breathing, a fast heartbeat, dizziness, or weakness. If you experience these or any other life-threatening symptoms, see a doctor right away.
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Can You Still Get Shingles After The Vaccine
According to the CDC, the Shingrix vaccine is about 90% effective. This means that the vaccine does not protect you 100% against shingles.
Therefore, although rare, it is still possible to get shingles even after the shingles vaccine. In addition, the vaccine doesn’t fully guarantee that you will not get shingles. Instead, it only minimizes your risk of getting the illness.
However, if you get shingles after getting the shingles vaccine, your symptoms will be milder, and the illness will run a short course.
Moreover, your risk of getting shingles complications like postherpetic neuralgia will be significantly lower.
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.
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What Causes Shingles
Once a person has had chickenpox, the varicella-zoster virus remains dormant in the body and may be reactivated later in life, causing shingles.
Shingles itself is not transmitted from person-to-person, however, a person who never had chickenpox or the chickenpox vaccine can get chickenpox from a person who has shingles.
Shingles is usually diagnosed with a physical examination and patient history.
A polymerase chain reaction test may be used to confirm a diagnosis.
How Can I Learn More
- Ask your health care provider.
- Visit the website of the Food and Drug Administration for vaccine package inserts and additional information at www.fda.gov/vaccines-blood-biologics/vaccines.
- Contact the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention :
- Call 1-800-232-4636 or
- Visit CDCs website at www.cdc.gov/vaccines.
Vaccine Information Statement
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Why Do I Need Two Doses Of Shingrix
In addition to a painful rash, shingles can lead to serious health complications like PHN, pneumonia, vision loss, hearing problems, and encephalitis . Research indicates that about 1% to 4% of people with shingles will be hospitalized.
Two doses of Shingrix offer effective protection against shingles and related complications for at least seven years. Among healthy adults ages 50-69, Shingrix is more than 90% effective in preventing PHN when two doses are administered. Among adults ages 70 and older, it is 89% effective.
Who’s At Risk Of Getting Shingles
Everyone who has had chickenpox can get shingles. Researchers are yet to understand why the herpes zoster virus reactivates later to cause shingles. However, some factors can put you at higher risk of getting shingles, including:
Older age: While everyone, including children, can get shingles, the risk increases as you get older. About half of shingles cases in the US are of people 60 or older.
Weakened immune system: A weakened immune system can’t fight viruses and infections effectively, increasing your risk of getting shingles . Age, cancer, cancer treatments, HIV, and HIV treatments can weaken your immune system.
While many people develop shingles only once in their lifetime, it is still possible to get the illness more than once.
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Where Can I Get The Shingles Vaccine
Most doctors offices, medical clinics, and other healthcare facilities, including commercial pharmacies, offer the shingles vaccine. You shouldnt have any trouble finding it .
If youre older than 50, or younger and your doctor recommends it, getting the shingles vaccine can protect you from a common and potentially serious illness.