Tuesday, May 21, 2024

How Safe Is The Shingles Vaccine

What Else To Know About The Shingles Vaccine

What You Should Know About Shingles Vaccines | Johns Hopkins Medicine

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:

Which Type Should People With Diabetes Get

There used to be two shingles vaccines available in the United States: Zostavax and Shingrix. As of November 2020, Zostavax is no longer available in the United States. Shingrix, however, is safe and effective. The Shingrix vaccine is given in two doses two to six months apart.

People who previously got the Zostavax vaccine should now get the Shingrix vaccine. Zostavax was much less effective at preventing shingles than Shingrix, and what protection Zostavax gave waned within five years. Talk to a healthcare provider about getting Shingrix if you had Zostavax.

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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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.

Research Into Mrna Vaccines For Shingles

National Shortage of Shingrix (Shingles Vaccine)

Several companies are researching the potential use of mRNA vaccines for shingles. Pfizer and BioNTech are partnering on an mRNA shingles vaccine just as they did with vaccines for the flu and COVID-19.

A major advantage to the technology is the ability to develop new vaccines quickly. The fact that mRNA vaccines are synthetic and dont rely on actual virus particles also means they can be quickly produced in large numbers.

While the Shingrix vaccination is considered safe, the FDA has confirmed a link between Shingrix and Guillain-Barre Syndrome. Phasing out the old vaccine with the introduction of a new one, as the FDA did when Shingrix replaced Zostavax, might eliminate this potential issue.

Pfizer and BioNTech hope to begin clinical trials later this year.

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Other Things You Should Know

The vaccine seems to work best for people between ages 50 and 69. But anyone 50 and older can get it. Also, the vaccine can be expensive. Be sure to check that your insurance covers it. For those on Medicare, Part D covers it, Part B does not. Medicaid may or may not cover the cost, so check with your plan in advance.

Other things to know include:

  • Side effects of the vaccine can include redness, soreness, swelling or itching at the site of the shot, which may last 2 to 3 days. Because the vaccine activates your immune system, other temporary side effects may include headache, body aches, chills, fever, nausea and fatigue. Acetaminophen and ibuprofen can help relieve some side effects.
  • The vaccine does not contain any virus. You cannot get chickenpox or shingles from the vaccine.
  • If you already had shingles, the CDC suggests getting the vaccine anyway. There’s a slight risk that shingles may come back.
  • You can receive Shingrix if you are taking low-dose medicine to suppress the immune system, anticipating immunosuppression, or recovering from an immunocompromising condition.

What Are The Advantages Of Getting The Shingles Vaccine

The shingles vaccine reduces your risk of getting shingles. Shingles causes a painful rash that usually develops on one side of your body or face. Some people describe the pain as an intense burning or shooting sensation. The rash is often a single strip that wraps around one side of your body or is on one side of your face. It consists of blisters that normally crust over in seven to 10 days. The rash generally clears up within a month.

Some people with shingles also experience additional symptoms including fever, headache, chills or upset stomach.

For some people, the pain from the rash can last for months or even years after the rash goes away. This long-term pain is called postherpetic neuralgia , and it is the most common complication of shingles.

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Are There Any Side Effects Of Taking The Shingles Vaccine

As with any medication or vaccine, the shingles vaccine has possible side effects. The shot helps your body develop an immune defense against shingles. Any side effects you might have are temporary and usually resolve within two to three days.

You might have side effects from the first shot, the second shot, or both shots. You can take an over-the-counter pain reliever like Advil or Tylenol .

Common side effects can include:

  • Redness and swelling at the shot site
  • Sore arm and mild to moderate pain

Guillain-Barré syndrome , a nervous system disorder, is a condition that has reported as developing, although rarely, after Shingrix. However, the risk of developing GBS also is slightly elevated if you get shingles.

Talk with a healthcare provider about the shingles vaccine’s possible risks and side effects and what to do if you experience any.

How Is Shingles Spread

Yes, you can get the shingles vaccine after getting your COVID vaccine

You do not “catch” shingles it comes on when there’s a reawakening of chickenpox virus that’s already in your body. The virus can be reactivated because of a range of issues, including advancing age, medicine, illness or stress.

Anyone who has had chickenpox can get shingles. It’s estimated that around 1 in 5 people who have had chickenpox go on to develop shingles.

Read more about the causes of shingles.

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What Is Brain Damage

Brain damage involves the destruction or deterioration of a persons brain cells.5

Most Zostavax cases involving brain damage pertain to acquired brain injuries. These injuries are associated with pressure on the brain and may result from a neurological illness .6

Symptoms of brain damage can include:

  • difficulty processing information,
  • sensory problems, and
  • bladder or bowel dysfunction.10

Treatment typically involves medications and rehabilitative therapy. Most people that suffer from the condition recover at least partially. Severe cases of myelitis can lead to major disabilities.11

What Are The Complications Alleged By The Plaintiffs In The Zostavax Lawsuits

Thousands of Zostavax lawsuits have been filed against the drugs manufacturer Merck & Co Inc. Pharmaceuticals since 2016. The plaintiffs in these lawsuits allege that, in addition to the above complications, the administration of Zostavax causes:

  • neurological diseases or disorders, like brain inflammation and brain damage,
  • spinal cord inflammation ,
  • stiffness in the neck and back.3

Encephalitis can be very serious. In extreme cases, it can cause brain damage and death.

Further, treatment of the affliction can be difficult. Patients require extensive care with ongoing monitoring of their heart and respiratory system. Treatment also involves precise management of a persons fluid and electrolyte balances.4

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Whos 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 .

If Youre 50 Or Older Get Shingrix

Prevent Shingles: Get Vaccinated
  • Shingrix provides strong protection from shingles and long-term nerve pain.
  • Get Shingrix even if you already had shingles, because you can get the disease more than once.
  • Your risk of shingles and complications increases as you age.
  • You need 2 doses of Shingrix. Get the second dose 2 to 6 months after you get the first dose.

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What Are The Possible Side Effects Of Shingles Immunisation

All medicines and vaccines can have side effects. Sometimes they are serious, most of the time theyre not.

For most people, the chance of having a serious side effect from a vaccine is much lower than the chance of serious harm if you caught the disease.

Talk to your doctor about possible side effects of shingles vaccines, or if you have possible side effects that worry you.

Common side effects of shingles vaccines include:

  • pain, redness, swelling or itching where the needle went in

Serious reactions to immunisation are rare. With Zostavax® vaccination, very rarely a generalised chickenpox-like rash may occur around 24 weeks after vaccination. This may be associated with fever and feeling unwell. This rash may be a sign of a serious reaction to the virus in the vaccine. Seek medical attention and inform of recent Zostavax vaccination if you experience this reaction.

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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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Vaccine Safety And Side Effects

Vaccines are very safe, and they can help keep you from getting serious or life-threatening diseases. The most common side effects for all these vaccines are mild and may include pain, swelling, or redness where the vaccine was given.

Before getting any vaccine, talk with a doctor or pharmacist about your health history, including past illnesses and treatments, as well as any allergies. A health care provider can address any concerns you have.

It’s a good idea to keep your own vaccination record, listing the types and dates of your shots, along with any side effects or problems.

Who Shouldnt Get The Shingles Vaccine

Shingles Vaccine Safe With Biologics

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.

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Administering And Storing Shingrix

  • Adults 50 years and older should receive 2 doses of Shingrix. Give the second dose 2 to 6 months after the first.
  • Administer Shingrix intramuscularly in the deltoid region of the upper arm with a 1- to 1.5-inch needle.
  • Both vials of Shingrix must be refrigerated at a temperature of 36-46° F. Do not use if exposed to temperatures below 36° F.

Should You Get Shingrix If You Had The Zostavax Shingles Vaccine

It is recommended that you get two doses of Shingrix even if you got a different shingles vaccine in the past. Before Shingrix was approved, the Zostavax shingles vaccine was available. It was discontinued in November 2020 as Shingrix is much more effective. If you had the Zostavax vaccine, talk to your healthcare provider about getting Shingrix.

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Is Shingles Vaccine Safe And Effective For People With Diabetes

Yes, the shingles vaccine is safe and effective for people with diabetes. Vaccines must pass rigorous development and testing procedures to demonstrate their safety for authorized use in the United States.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that adults age 50 and over get two doses of Shingrix as prescribed to help prevent shingles and its complications. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices specifically notes people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes should receive the Shingrix vaccine.

People 19 and older who are immunocompromised should also get the vaccine. This may include people living with diabetes. If you are younger than 50, talk with a healthcare provider about whether you should get the shingles vaccine.

In healthy people over age 50, the shingles vaccine is more than 90% effective at preventing shingles and postherpetic neuralgia. In immunocompromised individuals, a 2022 study found that Shingrix had a 64.1% effectiveness rate at preventing shingles.

What Should Immunocompromised Patients Know

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Immunocompromised means that a persons body has:

  • a weakened immune system, and
  • is unable to fight off even a weakened form of a virus.
  • Zostavax is a live virus, which means a weakened form of the shingles virus is injected into a patients body. Since an immunocompromised patient has difficulty combatting weakened forms of a virus, these patients may actually develop shingles.

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    What Does The Shingles Vaccine Do

    The shingles vaccine can prevent shingles. Every year, about 1 million people in the United States get shingles. Anyone whos had chickenpox can get shingles. Thats because the varicella-zoster virus lives silently in your nervous system after you’ve had chickenpox. The virus can reactivate later in your life if your immune system is weakened. Your risk of getting shingles goes up as you get older. In the United States, 1 in 3 people will get shingles in their lifetime.

    Shingles Vaccine Lawsuit Update

    Our law firm is handling Zostavax and Shingrix vaccine lawsuits. These vaccines were intended for the prevention of herpes zoster which is more commonly known as the shingles virus.

    These herpes lawsuits allege that the shingles vaccine was unsafe for patients. The key injury, incredibly, is that the Zostavax shingles vaccine causes shingles and zoster-related injuries. So the very thing meant to protect them against shingles actually caused shingles.

    The Zostavax shingles suits make a lot of allegations against Merck. Many of the extraneous claims have already been dismissed. Lawyers make a lot of claims when they file lawsuits like this, sometimes too many. But the core of it is plaintiffs’ attorneys allege that Merck knew or should have known of the risks and reactions associated with their product.

    Because Merck knew of the risks, it had a legal obligation to provide warnings. These should have fairly and accurately depicted the severity of the risks associated with the Zostavax. This is particularly true because there were better options available than Zostavax on the market.

    The Shingles Virus The New Jersey Lawsuit

    This lawsuit filed in New Jersey alleges that nearly 1,000 victims took Zostavax vaccine to avoid shingles, but instead developed a recurring strain of herpes zoster, which is more difficult to treat than usual.

    Zostavax MDL Update

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