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How Many Shots For Shingles Vaccine

Do I Really Need Another Shot Heres What You Need To Know About The Shingles Vaccine

What You Should Know About Shingles Vaccines | Johns Hopkins Medicine

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that healthy adults 50 years and older get two doses of the shingles vaccine, called Shingrix.

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. Do I really need to get another vaccine?

With everyone talking about the coronavirus and flu vaccines these days, many might overlook the necessity of the shingles vaccine, doctors say. But, if youre 50 or older, they say its time to roll up your sleeve again.

Though shingles isnt a virus thats caught from others it hibernates in the nerve roots of people after they have the chicken pox, and natural immunity keeps it at bay it will come out and cause painful symptoms when that immunity is reduced by age, stress or illness.

Approximately 50% of all adults will get shingles in their lifetime if not vaccinated, said Dr. Marianne La Barbera, a family physician who practices in Sunnyside. The current vaccine being offered, Shingrix, is much more effective than the previous shingles vaccine offered, the doctor said. Even people who have had the older vaccine should get the Shingrix to boost their immunity and lower their risk of getting shingles.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that healthy adults 50 years and older get two doses of Shingrix , separated by two to six months, to prevent shingles and complications from the disease.

A doctor or pharmacist can administer the vaccine as a shot in the upper arm.

The downside

How Do You Catch Shingles

You do not “catch” shingles it comes on when there’s a reactivation of chickenpox virus that’s already in your body.

After you’ve recovered from chickenpox, the varicella-zoster virus lies dormant in your nerve cells and can reactivate at a later stage when your immune system is weakened.

Anyone who has had chickenpox can get shingles.

The Problem With Medical Records Tracking Vaccine Schedules

Another obstacle is the fact that it can be difficult for family physicians to know exactly what vaccinations a patient has received. Unlike pediatric patients, who typically have accessible records of their vaccination schedule, it can be trickier for adults.

For adults, it becomes quite challenging, especially when they switch providers, because often times you have to track down records to find out if theyve been vaccinated, said Jain.

She said it can be complicated to try and decipher which vaccines patients have received and which ones they should get without clear records.

For adults over the age of 65, you want to find out if theyve gotten the two pneumonia vaccinations that are recommended, so it becomes a challenge to find out if theyve gotten both, or just one, she said.

Same thing goes now for the shingles vaccination. Youre kind of tracking down records, and when you dont have them, you have to make a clinical judgment.

Despite these challenges, Jain says the fact that Shingrix is a newly minted vaccination may make things a bit more straightforward.

The nice thing about Shingrix is that its so new, most patients have not gotten it, she said. Even if theyve had Zostavax, its recommended that they get Shingrix in addition to it, so thats a little bit less of a challenge with a new vaccination.

Also Check: Can You Get Shingles Vaccine If You Had Shingles

What Are The Side Effects

Shingrix can make the area where you get the shot swell or feel sore. Other effects include:

  • Many people who get the vaccine have muscle aches, headaches, or feel tired.
  • About 1 in 4 people have a fever or an upset stomach.

Younger people are more likely to have these side effects, and they typically last 2 or 3 days.

Itâs also possible to have an allergic reaction to an ingredient in the vaccine. If you have problems breathing, feel your face or throat swelling, or feel weak or dizzy after the shot, call 911 and get medical help right away.

How Effective Is The Shingles Vaccine In Preventing Shingles

National Shortage of Shingrix (Shingles Vaccine)

The shingles vaccine can provide strong protection against shingles and postherpetic neuralgia , the most commonly occurring shingles complication.

The shingles vaccine is 97% effective in preventing shingles in people ages 50 to 69 years old. Its 91% effective in people ages 70 years and older.

In addition, the shingles vaccine is 91% effective in preventing PHN in people ages 50 to 69 years old. Its 89% effective in people ages 70 years and older.

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Drug Interactions Of Shingrix Vs Zostavax

Immunosuppressive drugs such as cyclosporine and tacrolimus can decrease the effectiveness of vaccines. Steroids, like prednisone, and chemotherapy can also have immunosuppressive effects that can alter how vaccines work.

Those who are on immunosuppressive therapy should avoid Zostavax altogether Zostavax contains the live virus, which could result in an infection.

Antiviral drugs such as acyclovir and famciclovir can interfere with the effects of the Zostavax vaccine. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends that people who are on antiviral drugs stop taking antiviral medications 24 hours before getting a Zostavax vaccine. Treatment with antiviral drugs should not be resumed for at least 14 days after vaccination with Zostavax.

Drug

Consult a healthcare professional for other possible drug interactions

Are Shingrix And Zostavax The Same

Both Shingrix and Zostavax can decrease the risk of shingles. However, they differ in effectiveness, administration, and side effects. Shingrix is a recombinant zoster vaccine and Zostavax is a live vaccine. Meaning, Shingrix contains an inactivated form of the varicella-zoster virus and Zostavax contains a live, weakened form of the virus. Another difference is that Shingrix is injected into the muscle while Zostavax is injected underneath the skin. Compared to Zostavax, Shingrix is a newer shingles vaccine.

Also Check: When Can I Get My Shingles Shot

How Does The Shingles Vaccine Work

The vaccine recommended for most people is a live vaccine called Zostavax. It contains a weakened chickenpox virus . Its similar, but not identical, to the chickenpox vaccine.

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.

Also Check: What Are The Signs Of Shingles In Adults

Who Should Get Zostavax

New Shingles Vaccine

People 60 years of age or older should get shingles vaccine . They should get the vaccine whether or not they recall having had chickenpox, which is caused by the same virus as shingles. Studies show that more than 99% of Americans aged 40 and older have had chickenpox, even if they dont remember getting the disease. There is no maximum age for getting shingles vaccine.

Two vaccines are licensed and recommended to prevent shingles in the U.S.. Zoster vaccine live has been in use since 2006. Recombinant zoster vaccine , has been in use since 2017 and is recommended by ACIP as the preferred shingles vaccine.

Even if you have had shingles, you can still receive shingles vaccine to help prevent future occurrences of the disease. There is no specific length of time you must wait after having shingles before receiving shingles vaccine, but generally you should make sure the shingles rash has disappeared before getting vaccinated. The decision on when to get vaccinated should be made with your healthcare provider.

Talk with your healthcare provider if you have questions about shingles vaccine. Shingles vaccine is available in doctors offices and pharmacies. To find doctors offices or pharmacies near you that offer the vaccine, visit Zostavax or HealthMap Vaccine Finder.

Recommended Reading: Does The Shingles Vaccine Have Any Side Effects

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.

Which Vaccines Do Older Adults Need

As you get older, a health care provider may recommend vaccinations, also known as shots or immunizations, to help prevent certain illnesses.

Talk with a doctor or pharmacist about which of the following vaccines you need. Make sure to protect yourself as much as possible by keeping your vaccinations up to date.

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What Are The Side Effects Of The Shingles Vaccine

Just like with any other medication or vaccine, there is always a risk of potential side effects or allergic reactions. The shingles vaccine, however, is considered to be safe and poses a small risk of side effects.

  • The Zostavax shingles vaccine may cause:
  • Redness, soreness, swelling, or itching at the site of the injection, or
  • The Shingrix shingles vaccine may cause:
  • Soreness, mild or moderate pain, or redness and swelling in the injected arm,
  • How Does The Shingrix Work

    GSK Shingles Vaccine

    The shingles vaccine contains inactivated pieces of the virus, allowing the body to build immunity to the disease. In addition, it stimulates the bodys immune system to produce more antibodies without causing illness.

    The presence of more antibodies helps the body confront the virus and keep the infection at bay. The vaccine also contains molecules that improve the bodys immune response to be stronger and last longer.

    This process helps the body build immunity against the virus and lowers the risk of shingles-related complications such as PHN.

    Also Check: Who Should Get The Shingles Vaccine Canada

    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.

    What Everyone Should Know About The Shingles Vaccine

    Shingles vaccination is the only way to protect against shingles and postherpetic neuralgia , the most common complication from shingles.

    CDC recommends that adults 50 years and older get two doses of the shingles vaccine called Shingrix to prevent shingles and the complications from the disease. Adults 19 years and older who have weakened immune systems because of disease or therapy should also get two doses of Shingrix, as they have a higher risk of getting shingles and related complications.

    Your doctor or pharmacist can give you Shingrix as a shot in your upper arm.

    Shingrix provides strong protection against shingles and PHN. In adults 50 years and older who have healthy immune systems, Shingrix is more than 90% effective at preventing shingles and PHN. Immunity stays strong for at least the first 7 years after vaccination. In adults with weakened immune systems, studies show that Shingrix is 68%-91% effective in preventing shingles, depending on the condition that affects the immune system.

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    Flu Vaccine For Older Adults

    Flu short for influenza is a virus that can cause fever, chills, sore throat, stuffy nose, headache, and muscle aches. Flu is very serious when it gets in your lungs. Older adults are at a higher risk for developing serious complications from the flu, such as pneumonia.

    The flu is easy to pass from person to person. The virus also changes over time, which means you can get it again. To ensure flu vaccines remain effective, the vaccine is updated every year.

    Everyone age 6 months and older should get an annual flu vaccine, but the protection from a flu vaccine can lessen with time, especially in older adults. Still, you are less likely to become seriously ill or hospitalized with the flu if you get the vaccine. A flu vaccine is especially important if you have a chronic health condition such as heart disease or diabetes.

    Ideally, you should get your vaccine by the end of October each year so you are protected when the flu season starts. It takes at least two weeks for the vaccine to be effective. However, if you have not received your flu vaccine by the end of October, its not too late flu season typically peaks in December or January. As long as the flu virus is spreading, getting vaccinated will help protect you.

    Rare Side Effects Of The Shingles Vaccine

    Who Should Get the New 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.

    Read Also: At What Age Can You Get The Vaccine For Shingles

    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 .

    Should I Get A Vaccine

    Doctors say most healthy people over 50 should get Shingrix, as well as anyone 19 or older who are immunocompromised. Itâs available at pharmacies as well as doctorsâ offices. Most people have been exposed to the chickenpox even if they didnât actually develop symptoms.

    You should get the Shingrix vaccine unless:

    • You are allergic to any part of the vaccine
    • Had a blood test that proves you never had chicken pox
    • Have shingles now
    • Are breastfeeding or nursing.

    Also Check: Where Can I Get The New Shingles Vaccine

    Make A Plan To Get 2 Doses

    • You can get Shingrix at your doctors office or pharmacy. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about getting Shingrix.
    • Plan to get your second dose of Shingrix 2 to 6 months after your first dose.

    Five years later, I still take prescription medication for pain. My shingles rash quickly developed into open, oozing sores that in only a few days required me to be hospitalized. I could not eat, sleep, or perform even the most minor tasks. It was totally debilitating. The pain still limits my activity levels to this day.

    A 63-year-old harpist who was unable to continue playing due to shingles

    Know Your Risk Of Getting Shingles And Complications

    What You Should Know About the Shingrix Vaccine for Shingles Prevention

    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.

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    Who Should Get The Shingles Vaccine

    The CDC recommends all healthy adults ages 50 years and older get two doses of the shingles vaccine to prevent shingles and problems that can develop after youve had the disease. The two doses should be separated by two to six months. You should get the shingles vaccine even if you:

    • Have had shingles: If youve had shingles in the past, you should get the shingles vaccine to help prevent getting the disease again. You should wait until the shingles rash is gone before getting the vaccine.
    • Arent sure if youve had chickenpox: Studies show more than 99% of Americans ages 40 and older have had chickenpox at some point in their lives. You should get the shingles vaccine whether or not you remember having chickenpox because theyre caused by the same virus.
    • Received the old shingles vaccine : Before November 18, 2020, people were vaccinated with a shingles vaccine called Zostavax. You cant get Zostavax in the United States anymore. If you were vaccinated with Zostavax, you should get vaccinated with the new shingles vaccine, Shingrix.

    Shingrix Dosage And Schedule

    Shingrix should be administered to immunocompetent adults aged 50 years and older and adults aged 19 years who are or will be immunodeficient or immunosuppressed because of disease or therapy as a two-dose series , 2 to 6 months apart . However, for persons who are or will be immunodeficient or immunosuppressed and who would benefit from completing the series in a shorter period, the second dose can be administered 12 months after the first. See more detailed clinical guidance.

    If more than 6 months have elapsed since the first dose of Shingrix, you should administer the second dose as soon as possible. However, you do not need to restart the vaccine series.

    If the second dose is given less than 4 weeks after the first dose, the second dose should be considered invalid. A valid second dose should be administered 2 months after the invalid dose .

    Also Check: Is Tylenol Or Advil Better For Shingles Pain

    What Shingles Vaccines Are Available

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , there are 2 vaccines licensed and recommended to prevent shingles in the U.S.: Shingrix and Zostavax.2 The CDC recommends that healthy adults 50 years and older get 2 doses of Shingrix, separated by 2 to 6 months, to prevent shingles and the complications from the disease.3

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