Know Your Risk Of Getting Shingles And Complications
About 1 out of every 3 people in the United States will develop shingles during their lifetime.
If youve had chickenpox, you are at risk for shingles. More than 99% of Americans born before 1980 have had chickenpox, even if they dont remember it.
Your risk of getting shingles and having serious complications increases as you get older.
About 1 in 10 people who get shingles develop nerve pain that lasts for months or years after the rash goes away. This is called postherpetic neuralgia and is the most common complication of shingles.
Shingles may lead to other serious complications involving the eye, including blindness. Very rarely, it can also lead to pneumonia, hearing problems, brain inflammation or death.
Who Should Avoid Getting The Shingrix Vaccine
You should not get Shingrix if you:
- Have ever had a severe allergic reaction to any component of the Shingrix vaccine
- Currently have shingles
- Currently are pregnant or breastfeeding
- Tested negative for immunity to varicella-zoster virus
- Have a moderate or severe illness with a temperature of 101.3º F
- Have gotten Varivax less than eight weeks ago
What Is The Brand Name Of The Shingles Vaccine
There are 2 shingles vaccines used in the UK:
- Zostavax, a live vaccine given as 1 dose
- Shingrix, a non-live vaccine given as 2 doses, 2 months apart
Most people will have the Zostavax vaccine. The Shingrix vaccine is recommended if Zostavax is not suitable for you, for example if you have a condition that affects your immune system.
You can read more about the shingles vaccines in the patient information leaflets:
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Talk With Your Health Care Provider
Tell your vaccination provider if the person getting the vaccine:
- Has had an allergic reaction after a previous dose of recombinant shingles vaccine, or has any severe, life-threatening allergies
- Is currently experiencing an episode of shingles
In some cases, your health care provider may decide to postpone shingles vaccination until a future visit.
People with minor illnesses, such as a cold, may be vaccinated. People who are moderately or severely ill should usually wait until they recover before getting recombinant shingles vaccine.
Your health care provider can give you more information.
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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Why You Probably Wont Need A Shingles Booster
Poland and Schaffner both noted that since the effectiveness of Shingrix seems to be lasting, its not likely that people will ever need a shingles booster shot after they receive their primary series, given as two shots six months apart.
At the moment, the recommendation is for everyone aged 50 and older to get this vaccine, said Schaffner. And after youve had your first two dosesso farthere does not appear to be a need for a follow-up.
Poland said that researchers will keep collecting data, as we always do and if there is ever evidence that the vaccine has lost effectiveness, we would know in time to either recommend a booster dosewhich I dont think its going to be likelyor do something else.
Alison Hunt, a spokesperson for GSK, the manufacturer of Shingrix, told Verywell that the company is committed to studying the longer-term efficacy, immunogenicity, and safety of the vaccine which was licensed in 2017.
The Zoster-049 study is still ongoing with final data expected in 2024. Upon study completion, the product information may be updated as appropriate, Hunt said.
How Do I Get The Shingles Vaccination
Once you become eligible for the shingles vaccination, a GP or practice nurse will offer you the vaccine when you attend the surgery for general reasons.
You can have a shingles vaccine at the same time as most other vaccines. But try to leave 7 days between the shingles vaccine and a coronavirus vaccine, so that if you have any side effects you’ll know which vaccine they were from.
If you are worried that you may miss out on the shingles vaccination, contact your GP surgery to arrange an appointment to have the vaccine.
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Who Shouldnt Receive Shringrix
Although vaccines go through rigorous safety testing to ensure they are safe, they arent suitable for everyone. You shouldnt receive Shingrix if you:
- have an active shingles infection
- have a severe illness or a fever of 101.3Â°F or higher
- have had a severe allergic reaction to Shingrix or any ingredient in the vaccine
- have no immunity to varicella based on a blood test carried out for other reasons
- are pregnant or breastfeeding
If you currently have shingles, another serious illness, or a fever of 101.3Â°F , wait until these issues have resolved to receive a Shingrix vaccination.
Can A Person Get Shingles If They Have Had The Chickenpox Vaccine
Although it is rare, it is possible to develop shingles even if they have had the chicken pox vaccine. This typically happens years after receiving the chickenpox vaccine.
This is because the same virus that causes chickenpox also causes shingles. However, those who have had the chicken pox vaccine are less likely to develop shingles compared to those who have had chicken pox.
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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.
Is The Shingles Vaccine Covered By Insurance
The shingles vaccine may be covered by insurance depending upon the insurance program:
- Medicare: Medicare Part D covers shingles vaccine expenses, but it depends on the plan. You may need to pay either in part or full and then get it reimbursed. Medicare part B does not cover the vaccine.
- Medicaid: Medicaid may or may not cover the vaccine. You can find out by contacting your insurer.
- Private health insurance: Most private health insurance programs cover the shingles vaccine, but you may need to pay some part of the expenses depending on your plan.
- Vaccine assistance program: Check with the Shingrix manufacturer, GlaxoSmithKline, if they have a Shingrix vaccine assistance program. Through vaccine assistance programs, people who cannot afford the vaccine can get help in the form of free vaccination.
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Who’s Most At Risk Of Shingles
People tend to get shingles more often as they get older, especially over the age of 70. And the older you are, the worse it can be. The shingles rash can be extremely painful, such that sufferers cannot even bear the feeling of their clothes touching the affected skin.
The pain of shingles can also linger long after the rash has disappeared, even for many years. This lingering pain is called post-herpetic neuralgia .
Shingrix Vs Zostavax: Differences Similarities And Which Is Better For You
In March 2021, the FDA approved a safety labeling change for Shingrix. The label now contains a warning about a possible increased risk of Guillain-BarrÃ© Syndrome with Shingrix. However, the FDA affirms the benefits of the vaccine continue to outweigh the risks. Read more about the FDA warning here.
In addition, Zostavax has been discontinued in the U.S. as of November 2020. The original post has been preserved for informational purposes only.
Shingrix and Zostavax are vaccines that can be given to prevent herpes zoster, more commonly known as shingles. A shingles vaccine is recommended for adults once they turn 50, and it can help prevent the rash and other complications associated with shingles.
Most people have been infected with the varicella-zoster virus if theyve ever had chickenpox. After chickenpox resolves, the varicella-zoster virus lies dormant in the body for years, if not forever. Later in life, the virus can reactivate as shingles and cause a painful rash that usually wraps around the face or torso.
Although Shingrix and Zostavax work in similar ways to prevent shingles, there are some important differences between the two.
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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.
Who Can Give The Vaccine
There is not much you need to do to prepare to get a shingles vaccine. You dont even necessarily need an appointment.
A doctor can schedule a time to give you the vaccine, but licensed pharmacists are also allowed to administer it. Some pharmacies offer shingles vaccines on a walk-in basis. Check with your healthcare professional or pharmacy to be sure.
Whether youve made an appointment or walked into a pharmacy for vaccination, the next steps are simple.
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Why Do We Need A Shingles Shot
As you might remember from your childhood, the rash from chickenpox is itchy but usually doesnt hurt. In most cases, chickenpox is a mild illness that doesnt cause long-term problems.
After you got over a case of chickenpox, the virus stays in your body but goes dormant, meaning its not active. However, it can reactivate later in your life. If it does, youll get shingles.
Unlike chickenpox, a shingles rash can be extremely painful. Fever, headache, fatigue, and sensitivity to light are also common shingles symptoms.
There are also potentially serious health consequences of the infection. For example, if you get a shingles rash close to your eye, it can affect your vision and potentially cause blindness.A case of shingles generally lasts between two and six weeks. The pain usually goes away when the rash does, but some people have pain that lingers for months or even years .
Shingles can be treated with antiviral medications such as acyclovir or valacyclovir, which reduce the length of the outbreak. However, anyone who has had shingles will likely tell you to do whatever you can to avoid getting it in the first place. Thats where Shingrix comes in.
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.
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Shingrix For Prevention Of Shingles
Shingrix is a vaccine thats used to prevent shingles . Its approved for use in people:
- ages 50 years and older
- ages 18 years and older who have an increased risk of shingles
People with an increased risk of shingles include those with a weakened immune system, such as people with HIV.
Shingrix is not meant for use in preventing chickenpox .
Effectiveness for prevention of shingles
Shingrix has been found to be effective in helping to prevent shingles. For details on how the drug performed in clinical studies, see Shingrixs
state that Shingrix is the preferred vaccine for shingles. They recommend it for:
- all adults ages 50 years and older
- adults ages 18 to 50 years with a weakened immune system
Uncommon Rare And Very Rare Adverse Events
Uncommon adverse events occur in 0.1% to less than 1% of vaccinees. Rare and very rare adverse events occur, respectively, in 0.01% to less than 0.1% and less than 0.01% of vaccinees.
Both HZ vaccines are safe with serious adverse events reported very rarely in immunocompetent individuals.
Recurrence or exacerbation of herpes zoster ophthalmicus following LZV vaccination has been reported very rarely, involving several cases world-wide following LZV immunization. Following a causality assessment of seven cases of HZO which were temporally associated with the administration of LZV, NACI concluded that there was insufficient evidence to recommend for or against the administration of LZV in individuals with a history of HZO. More evidence is required for further assessment of risk related to HZO recurrence in LZV recipients. At this time, there is insufficient evidence to assess the risk related to HZO recurrence following RZV recipients.
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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.
Coverage And Cost Comparison Of Shingrix Vs Zostavax
For adults aged 50 years and older, only plans with Medicare Part D coverage will cover the Shingrix vaccine. However, there may still be a copay even with Medicare Part D coverage. The average cash price for one Shingrix dose is $167, though you may be able to use a prescription discount card to lower this cost. Check with your local pharmacy to see if you can use a Shingrix SingleCare card. Like Shingrix, Zostavax is primarily covered by Medicare Part D plans or Medicare Advantage plans with Medicare Part D coverage. The copay for Zostavax with insurance can vary. With an average cash price of $278, Zostavax can be expensive with or without insurance. Using a prescription discount card for Zostavax may be able to reduce this cost.
*not reportedFrequency is not based on data from a head-to-head trial. This may not be a complete list of adverse effects that can occur. Please refer to your doctor or healthcare provider to learn more.Source: DailyMed , DailyMed
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How Long After Shingles Can A Person Get Vaccinated
Keith Roach, M.D.
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am 81 years old and was diagnosed with shingles at the end of October 2020. After taking famciclovir, I am healing, but still have a scaly rash and shooting pains on the right side of my head where the shingles occurred. I was told that the pain could last for a year or more. Is this true? The initial outbreak was on my scalp, forehead, brow and eye area. I did see my ophthalmologist and was fortunate that the shingles did not get into my eye, just on my eyelid.
I also saw my physician, who recommended I get the shingles vaccine in February 2021. My eye doctor disagrees and said to wait six to nine months. What is the recommended time span between the onset of shingles and getting the vaccine? How long does the vaccine protect someone? Once you have the vaccine, can you ever get shingles again? L.H.
ANSWER: Both your doctors are right. Your regular doctor who recommended a four-month time span is correct, but your eye doctor, who said six to nine months, is right also. In fact, the vaccine may be given at any time after the shingles lesions are healed . Getting shingles again within a year is very unlikely, so it is fine to wait up to a year after the bout of shingles.
The length of protection seems to be long. But this is still a new vaccine, and it is unclear how long the protection will last.
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