How Does The Shingles Vaccine Work
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.
Study Reveals How Shingrix Vaccine Works
New shingles vaccine produces more antibodies against virus.
Shingrix-which received a preferred recommendation from the CDC in late 2017-claims to be more than 90% effective against the herpes zoster virus, better than its only competitor, Zostavax. A new study conducted in 18 countries around the world explains why.
Shingrix differs significantly from other vaccines that are made from a weakened form of a virus. It is the first shingles vaccine to combine a non-live antigen with a specifically designed adjuvant. It contains a single protein-glycoprotein E-found in the outer shell of the herpes zoster virus, and an adjuvant to enhance the body’s immune response to an antigen. Since Shingrix does not contain a live virus, it may be a good option for immunocompromised patients at high risk for shingles, for whom Zostavax is contraindicated.
The study was conducted by the Westmead Institute for Medical Research in Australia and published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases. More than 15,000 participants in Europe, North America, Latin America, Asia, and Australia received two doses of Shingrix administered two months apart.
“The body has two types of immunity: protein antibodies and white blood cells known as T cells, explains Cunningham in a prepared statement. As the virus circulates around the body, antibodies block it from entering cells. But when the virus does get into cells, your T cells try to kill those infected cells.
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.
Also Check: When Do You Take The Second Shingles Vaccine
Before Taking This Medicine
You should not receive Shingrix if you have ever had a life-threatening allergic reaction to inactivated zoster virus vaccine.
Tell your doctor if:
you have ever had an allergic reaction to any vaccine or
you have fainted after receiving an injection.
Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
How Long Does It Take To Work
It takes time for your body to make enough antibodies to fight off germs and protect you from certain diseases.
Results from clinical studies of Shingrix showed that the recommended dosing schedule for Shingrix does cause an immune response.
How long Shingrix takes to work may not be the same for everyone. The timing for you will depend on your body chemistry. In general, you should be protected from shingles soon after the second dose.
Studies in animals showed that there was no risk with Shingrix during pregnancy. However, animal studies dont always predict the way humans would respond.
If youre pregnant or planning to become pregnant, wait until after youve had your baby to get the Shingrix vaccine. Talk with your doctor if you have any concerns.
There havent been enough studies to show whether Shingrix appears in breast milk.
Until more is known, its best to wait until youve finished breastfeeding before getting Shingrix.
Recommended Reading: Where Does Shingles Show Up On The Body
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.
When To See A Doctor For The Possible Side Effects Of A Shingle Vaccine
Most side effects of the shingles vaccine will resolve on their own within a few days of vaccination or can be treated with over-the-counter medications like acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
In the rare case that you develop a more serious reaction after vaccination, you should call a doctor or go to a health clinic.
Its rare but possible to have a serious allergic reaction to a shingles vaccine. Call emergency services or go to the nearest emergency room if you experience the following symptoms after a vaccination:
Read Also: How To Treat Shingles Naturally
Shingrix And Other Medications
Below are medications that can interact with Shingrix. These are not all the drugs that may interact with Shingrix.
Before taking Shingrix, be sure to tell your doctor and pharmacist about all prescription, over-the-counter, and other drugs you take. Also tell them about any vitamins, herbs, and supplements you use. Sharing this information can help you avoid potential interactions.
If you have questions about drug interactions that may affect you, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
Immunosuppressive drugs such as prednisone
Taking Shingrix with drugs that suppress your immune system can cause problems with the way your body responds to Shingrix. Examples of immunosuppressive medications include:
- corticosteroids, such as:
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about Shingrix.
Can My Grandfather With Shingles Give My Baby Daughter Chickenpox
Yes, although people with shingles cannot pass shingles to someone else, they can pass chickenpox virus to others through direct contact with the rash. If your baby has not yet had chickenpox or the chickenpox vaccine, she could become infected with the virus and develop chickenpox.
Unlike chickenpox that can be passed to others through coughs or sneezes, people with shingles can only pass the virus to others through direct contact with the rash. If the rash has yet to develop or has crusted, the patient cannot transmit the virus. Similarly, people who still have pain without the rash are no longer able to transmit the virus.
Don’t Miss: How Do You Get Shingles On Your Body
How Effective Is Shingrix
The risk of getting shingles increases as you get older, so its important to get vaccinated. Shingrix also provides strong protection against PHN, the most common complication from shingles.
- Among adults age 50 to 69 years who got two doses, Shingrix was 97 percent effective in preventing shingles. In this age group, it was also 91 percent effective in preventing PHN.
- Among adults age 70 years and older who got two doses, Shingrix was 91 percent effective in preventing shingles. In this age group, it was also 89 percent effective in preventing PHN.
- Among adults age 70 years and older who got two doses, Shingrix is more than 85 percent effective in preventing shingles for four years following vaccination.
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 .
Also Check: Ice And Water Shield Under Shingles
How Is Shingles Spread
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.
Why Is The Shingles Vaccine Important
Shingles causes a painful rash and blisters and it can lead to serious complications. The most common complication is post-herpetic neuralgia , a condition that causes burning pain that can last long after the shingles rash and blisters go away. The older you are when you get shingles, the more likely you are to develop PHN.
Getting vaccinated is the best way to prevent shingles and PHN.
Shingles is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox. After you have chickenpox, the chickenpox virus stays dormant in your body. The virus can activate years later and cause shingles.
Symptoms of shingles include:
Shingles cant spread from person to person like chickenpox. But if you have shingles, you can spread the virus to someone who isnt immune to chickenpox meaning someone who hasnt had chickenpox and isnt vaccinated against it. If that happened, the person might get chickenpox but not shingles. Learn more about shingles.
- Adults age 50 and older
- Adults 19 years and older who have a weakened immune system because of disease or treatments
You need to get 2 doses of Shingrix. Youll need the second dose 2 to 6 months after the first dose. You need to get Shingrix even if you:
- Have already had shingles
- Have been vaccinated against shingles with Zostavax
- Are not sure if youve had chickenpox
Don’t Miss: How Many Times Do You Need Shingles Shot
Im Living With Hiv Is It Safe For Me To Get Shingrix
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention hasnt made a recommendation about the use of Shingrix in people living with HIV.
However, one study looked at healthy adults ages 18 and older who were living with HIV and had an HIV dosing schedule that was customized to their needs. These people received the Shingrix vaccine, and the study results did not report any safety issues.
If youre living with HIV, talk with your doctor about the risks and benefits of getting Shingrix.
Ramsay Hunt Syndrome Type 2
|Ramsay Hunt syndrome type 2
Inflammation of the geniculate ganglion of the is a late consequence of virus known as Ramsay Hunt syndrome , commonly known as herpes zoster oticus. In regards with the frequency, less than 1% of varicella zoster infections involve the facial nerve and result in RHS. It is traditionally defined as a triad of ipsilateral , , and close to the ear and . Due to its proximity to the , the virus can spread and cause hearing loss, , and . It is common for diagnoses to be overlooked or delayed, which can raise the likelihood of long-term consequences. It is more complicated than . Therapy aims to shorten its overall length, while also providing pain relief and averting any consequences.
Also Check: How Do You Know If You Got Shingles
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.
New Shingles Vaccine Shingrix Much More Effective
This past fall, a new shingles vaccine, Shingrix, was approved by the FDA and marked the first major development in the prevention of this devastating disease in over 10 years. The excitement about this new vaccine, coupled with the fact that one in every three adults will suffer from the shingles, has generated a lot of buzz and a lot of questions among my patients here at Methodist Physicians Clinic Indian Hills.
Read Also: What Does Shingles Look Like On Your Chest
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.
Can I Get Shingrix If Ive Never Had Chickenpox
If youve never had chickenpox , the CDC recommends that you get the chickenpox vaccine instead of Shingrix. Researchers havent studied Shingrix in people who have never had chickenpox. And Shingrix is not approved for preventing chickenpox.
If you cant recall whether youve had chickenpox, you may need to be screened for it. But this will depend on your age.
Its assumed that people born in the United States and elsewhere before 1980 have been exposed to chickenpox. Therefore, you may be able to receive Shingrix. You should check with your doctor first to make sure.
Recommended Reading: Is There Fever With Shingles
Zostavax And The Pneumococcal Polysaccharide Vaccine
The Summary of Product Characteristics for Zostavax, the shingles vaccine used in the UK, states that the vaccine should not be given at the same time as the Pneumococcal Polysaccharide Vaccine . This is because a clinical trial by the manufacturer had suggested this might make Zostavax less effective. However, the Department of Health advice is that the two vaccines can be given at the same time. This is based on expert advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation , and on research that showed no evidence that people receiving both vaccines together had any increased risk of developing shingles. Read the abstract of the 2011 study by Tseng et al .
Key Points To Remember
- Shingles can be very painful.
- Adults ages 50 and older and adults 19 and older who have a weakened immune system can get the vaccine. You need two doses, whether or not you’ve had shingles before.
- The vaccine greatly lowers your chances of getting shingles. If you get shingles anyway, you are less likely to have the long-term pain that can occur after shingles than if you hadn’t had the vaccine.
- If you’ve already had shingles, you are not likely to get it again. But some people do.
Recommended Reading: Can You Take Ibuprofen For Shingles Pain
Are There Any Restrictions After A Shingles Shot
You should not receive the shingles vaccine if you are pregnant, if you have an active shingles infection, or if you previously had an allergic reaction to any component of the vaccine. If youre eligible for the vaccine and receive the vaccination, there are no restrictions afterward and you can leave the doctors office or pharmacy as soon as the shot is complete.
What If I Wait Too Long To Take The Second Shingrix Dose
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that if more than 6 months have passed since you received your first dose, you should get the second dose as soon as possible. You dont have to start the doses all over again.
Also, if you get the second dose within 4 weeks after the first dose, it should not be counted. You should get your follow-up dose at least 1 to 2 months after the first dose, per your doctors recommendation.
Read Also: Can You Get Shingles On Your Back
Live Shingles Vaccine Vs Non
A live vaccine is one that contains a weakened form of a germ. Shingrix is not a live vaccine. Its an inactive vaccine, which is a vaccine thats made from a germ thats been killed.
Because Shingrix is inactive, more people can receive it. This includes people with a weakened immune system .
Zostavax was a shingles vaccine that was live.
People with weakened immune systems are typically advised against receiving live vaccines. This is because on very rare occasions, live vaccines can mutate back to the full-strength germ that causes a disease. If this happens, people with weakened immune systems would have a much higher risk for developing the disease that the vaccine is meant to prevent.