If Youre 50 Or Older Get Shingrix
- 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.
What Are Combination Vaccines And Why Are They Used
Combination vaccines take two or more vaccines that could be given individually and put them together into one shot. This way, people get the same protection as they do from individual vaccines given separately, but they get fewer shots.
Examples of combination vaccines for children in the U.S. include:
- Pediarix combines DTaP, Hepatitis B, and IPV
- ProQuad combines MMR and varicella
- Kinrix combines DTaP and IPV
- Pentacel combines DTaP, IPV, and Hib
The MMR vaccine and the DTaP vaccine for young children, as well as the Tdap vaccine for older children, pregnant women and adults, each protect against three diseases. However, these three vaccines are NOT called combination vaccines in the United States because you cannot get separate vaccines for all of the diseases that the MMR, DTaP, and Tdap vaccines protect against.
As with individual vaccines, before a combination vaccine is approved and recommended for use in the U.S., it goes through a lot of testing to make sure it is safe and effective. Sometimes combination vaccines cause slightly more pain or swelling where the shot was given. But if the vaccines were given individually, the person getting them could have pain or swelling in two or three spots, instead of just one. And just like for individual vaccines, safety systems are also in place after the combination vaccines are recommended to watch for very rare side effects.
What Vaccines Can Help Prevent Shingles
There is currently one vaccine available in the U.S. to prevent shingles. Shingrix was approved in 2017 and it is more than 90% effective in preventing shingles. With Shingrix, you get two shots between 2 and 6 months apart and protection lasts an estimated 4-5 years. Doctors recommend it for healthy people over 50 as well as those 19 years of age and older who are or will be immunodeficient or immunosuppressed due to disease or therapy..
An earlier vaccine called Zostavax was removed from the market in 2020. That vaccine used a weak form of the chickenpox virus to send your bodyâs immune system into action to fight the disease. Shingrix does not. If you received the Zostavax vaccine, it is recommended that you also receive Shingrix.
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Routine Vaccination Of People 50 Years Old And Older
CDC recommends Shingrix for the prevention of herpes zoster and related complications. CDC recommends two doses of Shingrix separated by 2 to 6 months for immunocompetent adults aged 50 years and older:
- Whether or not they report a prior episode of herpes zoster.
- Whether or not they report a prior dose of Zostavax, a shingles vaccine that is no longer available for use in the United States.
- It is not necessary to screen, either verbally or by laboratory serology, for evidence of prior varicella.
Recombinant and adjuvanted vaccines, such as Shingrix, can be administered concomitantly, at different anatomic sites, with other adult vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines. Coadministration of RZV with adjuvanted influenza vaccine and COVID-19 vaccines is being studied.
Diagnosis And Treatment Of Shingles
The most common way to diagnose shingles is to check how the rash has spread on your body. The rash mostly appears on one side of your body. Your doctor may also take a sample of the fluid in your blister for a laboratory test.
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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
How Does The Shingrix Work
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.
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How Do We Know The Vaccine Is Safe
All medicines are tested for safety and effectiveness by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency . The shingles vaccine meets the high safety standards required for it to be used in the UK and other European countries. The vaccine has been given to millions of people worldwide.
Once they’re in use, the safety of vaccines continues to be monitored by the MHRA.
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.
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Who Should Get Shingrix
Adults 50 years and older should get two doses of Shingrix, separated by 2 to 6 months. Adults 19 years and older who have or will have weakened immune systems because of disease or therapy should also get two doses of Shingrix. If needed, people with weakened immune systems can get the second dose 1 to 2 months after the first.
You should get Shingrix even if in the past you:
- Received varicella vaccine
There is no maximum age for getting Shingrix.
If you had shingles in the past, Shingrix can help prevent future occurrences of the disease. There is no specific length of time that you need to wait after having shingles before you can receive Shingrix, but generally you should make sure the shingles rash has gone away before getting vaccinated.
Chickenpox and shingles are related because they are caused by the same virus . After a person recovers from chickenpox, the virus stays dormant in the body. It can reactivate years later and cause shingles.
Shingrix is available in doctors offices and pharmacies.
If you have questions about Shingrix, talk with your healthcare provider.
* A shingles vaccine called zoster vaccine live is no longer available for use in the United States, as of November 18, 2020. If you had Zostavax in the past, you should still get Shingrix. Talk to your healthcare provider to determine the best time to get Shingrix.
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.
Are There Side Effects
Most people dont develop side effects from the shingles vaccine, but some can occur. The vaccine is injected into your arm, so pain and soreness at the injection site are common.
The FDA also issued a warning in 2021 that there may an association between receiving the vaccine and developing Guillain-Barré Syndrome , though the relationship is poorly understood and more research is needed.
GBS is a rare condition in which your bodys immune system attacks part of the nervous system.
Who Is A Candidate For The Shingles Vaccine
Your doctor may recommend you get a vaccine to prevent you from getting shingles if:
- Youre unsure if youve ever had chickenpox before.
- Youve had shingles before.
- Youre above 50 years and in good health.
- You received the Zostavax shingles vaccine.
Currently, the most effective shingles vaccine is called the Shingrix vaccine, recombinant zoster, which is 90% more effective. The vaccine is administered in two doses. Both doses are shot in your upper arm. Once administered, the Shingrix vaccine can remain effective for at least four years.
- Are on medication that may weaken your immune system .
- Have an allergy to any component used to make any shingles vaccine.
- Are pregnant or planning to get pregnant.
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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.
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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Main Causes Of Shingles
It is not clear what makes the varicella-zoster virus suddenly activate. Because the virus remains in the spinal nerve root after recovery from chickenpox, most researchers believe stress could trigger it.
You’re most likely to get shingles if:
- Youre above 60 years old.
- You contracted chickenpox before the age of one.
- You have a weak immune system due to underlying conditions like cancer and AIDS.
- You are under medication like chemotherapy.
- If youve gone through trauma.
- If you are stressed.
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.
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What Is The Shingles Vaccine
Shingrix is a vaccine that contains an inactive form of the herpes zoster virus. It helps you develop an immunity to the active virus.
Adults receive the vaccine in two separate doses. Generally, healthy adults over age 50 get their second dose 2 to 6 months after the first dose. Immunocompromised adults may get the second dose sooner.
There is no maximum age for getting Shingrix.
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.
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Main Complications Of Shingles
Shingles may cause health complications like Post-herpetic neuralgia and Herpes zoster ophthalmicus . Post-herpetic neuralgia can occur when shingles pain persists even after the rash has faded. Its caused by damaged nerve fibers on the skin that create discomfort. You’re more prone to get severe post-herpetic neuralgia as you get older.
In severe circumstances, if a shingle rash appears on your face, your cornea may be damaged, affecting your vision.
Mild Side Effects Of Shingles Vaccine:
- Redness, soreness, swelling, or itching at the site of the injection .
It is safe to be around infants and young children, pregnant women, or people with weakened immune systems after you get the shingles vaccine. There is no documentation of a person getting chickenpox from someone who has received the shingles vaccine .
Some people who get the shingles vaccine will develop a chickenpox-like rash near the place where they were vaccinated. As a precaution, this rash should be covered until it disappears.
Like all vaccines, shingles vaccine is being closely monitored for unusual or severe problems by CDC and FDA.
Signs of a severe allergic reaction can include hives, swelling of the face and throat, difficulty breathing, a fast heartbeat, dizziness, and weakness. These would start a few minutes to a few hours after the vaccination. If you have a severe allergic reaction or other emergency that cant wait, call 9-1-1 or get the person to the nearest hospital. Otherwise, call your doctor.
Afterward, the reaction should be reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System . Your doctor might file this report, or you can do it yourself through the VAERS website, or by calling 1-800-822-7967.
The shingles vaccine does not contain thimerosal .
This information was taken directly from the Shingles Vaccine Information Statement dated 10/06/2009.
For more information on possible side effects from vaccination, visit CDCs Possible Side Effects from Vaccines page.
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Vaccination Of Immunocompromised Adults 19 Years And Older
CDC recommends two doses of RZV for the prevention of shingles and related complications in adults aged 19 years who are or will be immunodeficient or immunosuppressed because of disease or therapy. The second dose of RZV should typically be given 26 months after the first. 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. For more detailed clinical guidance see .
First Could You Describe Briefly What Shingles Is
Shingles is a viral infection that causes a painful rash. Shingles is caused by the varicella zoster virus which is the same virus that causes chicken pox. After you have had chicken pox, the virus lies inactive in nerve tissue and years later can reactivate, causing a painful rash that looks like blisters. Most often the rash appears in a line around the right or left side of your torso, but can affect any part of the body including the face and eyes. Individuals have a 20-30% chance of getting shingles during their lifetime, and it is more likely to occur when you get older. The most common complication of shingles is post herpetic neuralgia, which causes persistent pain long after the blisters have disappeared and can last for months.
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Can I Get The Shingles Vaccine If I Am Under Age 50
Shingrix is not recommended for adults under age 50 who have a healthy immune system.
It is recommended for adults ages 19 or over who are immunocompromised, such as people with an immune-related health condition or who are receiving immunosuppressive agents, which are medications that reduce the bodys immune response. These medications may help prevent organ rejection after an organ transplant and treat other medical conditions.
Who Should Get Zostavax
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.
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