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How Bad Is The Shingles Vaccine

When Should I Get The Second Dose

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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.

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-Barré 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.

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.

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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.

Preparations Of Herpes Zoster Vaccine

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There are 2 zoster vaccines:

  • A recombinant vaccine, which is the preferred zoster vaccine because it provides better and longer-lasting protection than the live-attenuated vaccine

  • A live-attenuated vaccine, which is similar to the varicella vaccine but has a larger amount of the attenuated virus. The live-attenuated vaccine is no longer available for use in the US.

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Counseling Patients About Shingrix

Know the benefits and side effects of Shingrix so youre prepared to talk with your patients before administering the vaccine.

What to tell patients about Shingrix benefits:

  • You can protect yourself against shingles. Shingles is a very painful disease, and your risk of getting it increases as you age. Also, you are more likely to have severe, long-term pain if you get shingles when you are older. About 1 out of every 3 people in the United States will develop shingles in their lifetime.
  • Shingrix provides strong protection against shingles and long-term pain from the disease. Two doses of Shingrix are more than 90% effective at preventing shingles. So its very important that you get this vaccine.

What to tell patients about Shingrix side effects:

What to tell patients about dose two:

  • You need to come back in 2 to 6 months for your second dose. We can make that appointment now.
  • Even if you have side effects from the first dose, it is important to get the second dose to build strong protection against shingles. Your reaction to each dose may be different just because you have a reaction to the first dose does not mean that you will have a reaction to the second.

Is The Shingles Vaccine Safe

According to the CDC, research has shown that Shingrix is safe.

Some people experience short-term adverse effects, such as a fever, muscle aches, and headaches. However, these usually last only 2â3 days .

In rare cases, people have developed Guillain-Barré syndrome after having the shingles vaccine. However, this can also happen after shingles. GBS is a severe nervous system disorder.

The recommends Shingrix for people who have or are likely to have a weakened immune system due to a health condition or treatment. Having a weakened immune system increases a personâs risk of developing shingles.

It can happen with the following:

  • a medical condition that compromises the immune system, such as AIDS
  • cancer that affects the lymphatic system or bone marrow
  • cancer treatments, such as radiation or chemotherapy
  • medications that affect the immune system, such as steroids

However, a person with a weakened immune system should speak with their doctor about whether to have the vaccine and when.

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Is It Possible To Get Shingles Twice

Most people who get shingles only experience it one time in their lives. However, it is possible to get shingles more than once . This is known as recurrent shingles. Getting vaccinated can help minimize the chance that this will happen.

These are only a few of the many questions people may have about Shingrix. To learn more about the vaccine and shingles, individuals can consult a medical professional.

Does The Shingles Vaccine Have Any Side Effects

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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.

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Shingles Vaccine Side Effects

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 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.

What Else To Know About The Shingles Vaccine

Ready to get vaccinated? This is the essential info on how the shots are given, what to expect with side effects, and more.

You need two doses of Shingrix to get full protection from shingles. You should get your second dose 2 to 6 months after the first. Your doctor or pharmacist will inject the vaccine into the muscle of your upper arm, so wear clothes that give easy access to that area.

If it has been more than 6 months since you got your first dose, go ahead and get your second dose. You donât need to start over, Dooling says.

Because Shingrix is so new, experts arenât sure whether youâll eventually need another shot, or a booster, years down the road.

âThe CDC is actively following how protected people remain after the two-dose series,â she says. We know that after 4 years, protection remains above 85%. Only time will tell how durable that protection is.â

You do not have to wait between Shingrix and COVID-19 vaccination. The CDC has determined its safe to get the COVID-19 vaccine at the same time as Shingrex, but recommends they be given in different arms. You should not get eithe vaccine if you have COVID.

Side effects are fairly common. You may have heard that people sometimes have unpleasant side effects soon after they get the shingles vaccine.

âShingrix tends to have has more side effects than some vaccines, like those for the seasonal flu,â says Kistler. The shingles vaccine may cause:

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People Who Are Eligible For The Vaccine

Your GP will offer you the vaccine if you were aged 70 on 1 September 2022 and were born:

  • between 2 September 1951 and 1 September 1952

You are still eligible for the vaccine during 2022/ 2023 if you haven’t already received the vaccine and:

  • are aged between 71 and 79 years old
  • were born between 2 September 1942 and 1 September 1952

If you fall into the group above you need to ask your GP for the vaccine.

I Received The Chickenpox Vaccine Can I Still Get Shingles

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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.

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Who Shouldnt Get The Shingles Vaccine

There are a few situations in which shingles vaccination may not be right for you. You should not get Shingrix if youâve ever had a severe reaction to a vaccine. This means you had trouble breathing or swelling in your mouth or airway, a life-threatening condition called anaphylaxis.

You should also skip Shingrix if:

  • You have allergies to any parts of the vaccine. These include gelatin and the antibiotic neomycin. If you have other allergies, tell your doctor or pharmacist about them before you get Shingrix.
  • You currently have shingles or another illness. You can get the vaccine when youâre well.
  • You are pregnant or breastfeeding. You should wait until youâve stopped breastfeeding to get vaccinated.
  • You happened to test negative for VZV, the virus that causes chickenpox. If youâre older than 50, you probably had chickenpox even if you donât remember it. The CDC does not recommend testing for this. However, if a blood test shows youâve never had the childhood illness, you should get the chickenpox vaccine instead.

If you have a disease or take medications that affect your immune system, talk to your doctor about the pros and cons of Shingrix.

âItâs an individualized decision based on factors such as the specific medications and conditions of the person sitting in front of you,â Kistler says. She often consults with her patientsâ specialist doctors to make decisions about Shingrix.

Obstacles To Getting Vaccinated

Despite the fact that the small, but vocal, group of individuals who oppose vaccinations remains strong, Jain says she hasnt encountered much opposition to getting vaccinated among her patients.

A lot of patients will actually come to me asking how they can get the shingles vaccination, so I actually have experienced the opposite, she said. Theres a very small percentage of patients, Id say under 10 percent, that are very averse to getting vaccinations, though.

Jain said that with these patients, their concerns often center around possible adverse effects from the vaccination, fears that theyll contract shingles by getting the vaccination, or the belief that since theyve never had the illness, they dont need the vaccine.

Another big concern that patients have is cost, Jain told Healthline in March 2018. Zostavax cost $213, and Shingrix costs about $280 out of pocket.

Prices have fluctuated slightly in 2019, with Shingrix at $185 per injection (.

She explained that even insurance or Medicare coverage doesnt solve the problem.

The issue is that Medicare Part B is not covering it, Medicare Part D is covering part of it, and Medicaid may or may not cover it it really depends on the insurer and the insurance plan, she said. So, I think cost is also a big barrier for patients as well.

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When To See A Healthcare Provider

For most people, the effects of Shingrix are mild and short-term. In very rare cases, Shingrix can cause more serious side effects.

Seek urgent medical care if you experience signs of a severe allergic reaction a few minutes or hours after your second dose of Shingrix, such as:

  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Facial swelling
  • Swelling in the throat or mouth

You should also let your healthcare provider know if your Shingrix side effects are severe or arent going away on their own.

Why Is It Important To Receive A Vaccination Against Shingles

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About 33% of adults in the U.S. will develop shingles at some point in their lives. Shingles can cause painful blisters, a rash, chills, and fever, among other symptoms. Many people who have shingles later develop PHN, which can cause long-lasting pain that is difficult to treat.

Getting the Shingrix vaccine can help individuals avoid shingles and PHN and help prevent shingles from spreading to vulnerable people.

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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.

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.

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Vaccination Can Prevent A Painful Shingles Infection

Shingrix, the newest shingles vaccine, is more than 90 percent effective in preventing shingles, post herpetic neuralgia and other associated complications. It has proven to be more effective than the previously used single-dose vaccine which was only 51 percent effective. A physician order is required but the vaccine itself can be administered at most retail pharmacies.

The vaccine is a two-shot series, with the second shot being given two to six months after the first. Doctors recommend that all adults 50 years and older, without contraindications, receive the vaccine, even if they have had shingles and/or received the previous one-dose vaccine.

Those who are immunocompromised or expect to be immunocompromised for example, those starting long-term steroid treatment or cancer treatment or preparing for organ transplant should be vaccinated earlier ideally 19 years of age or older.

Is Shingles Contagious

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The virus that causes shingles can be easily transmitted from person-to-person during the active infection phase. To avoid passing the illness to others, people with shingles should:

  • Keep the rash covered
  • Wash hands frequently and avoid touching door knobs or any other shared items
  • Avoid touching or scratching the rash
  • Avoid close contact with other people until the blisters have crusted over

Read Also: Does Shingles Pain Come And Go

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 CDCâs website at www.cdc.gov/vaccines.

Vaccine Information Statement

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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Who Is At Risk For Shingles Infection

Although it can occur at any age, shingles is more common in older adults and in people with compromised immune systems. In fact, those who are immunocompromised are 1-6 times more prone to infection and have a significantly higher risk of recurrence.

Even people with normal immune systems are at greater risk as they age. Because our immune systems tend to weaken as we get older, by age 50 many people previously infected with chickenpox will have lost the specific immunity they developed after the original infection. When this happens, the virus can wake up and trigger shingles. Some experts believe that chronic stress, some medications and certain health conditions may also trigger the virus to reactivate.

In addition, people who have had COVID-19 are at increased risk. In a recent study, researchers have found that patients over 50 with a history of COVID-19 infection have a 15 percent higher risk of getting shingles, says Dr. Kumar.

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