How Well Does Shingrix Work
Two doses of Shingrix provide strong protection against shingles and postherpetic neuralgia , the most common complication of shingles.
- In adults 50 to 69 years old with healthy immune systems, Shingrix was 97% effective in preventing shingles in adults 70 years and older, Shingrix was 91% effective.
- In adults 50 years and older, Shingrix was 91% effective in preventing PHN in adults 70 years and older, Shingrix was 89% effective.
- In adults with weakened immune systems, Shingrix was between 68% and 91% effective in preventing shingles, depending on their underlying immunocompromising condition.
In people 70 years and older who had healthy immune systems, Shingrix immunity remained high throughout 7 years following vaccination.
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.
When Should I Get The Shingles Vaccine
You can get the shingles vaccine even if you do not know if you had chickenpox. You can also get the vaccine even if you have already had shingles.
- The recombinant zoster vaccine is a 2-dose series. The second dose is given 2 to 6 months after the first dose. Adults 50 years or older and adults 19 years and older with a weakened immune system may get the vaccine. You can also get this vaccine if you were given the live zoster vaccine before. This vaccine does not contain any live virus.
- The live zoster vaccine is no longer used in the US but may be used in other countries. This vaccine may be used if you have not received the shingles vaccine before. The vaccine is given in 1 dose to adults age 60 years or older. The vaccine may also relieve pain if you get shingles even after you get the vaccine.
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Risks Of A Vaccine Reaction
- A sore arm with mild or moderate pain is very common after recombinant shingles vaccine. Redness and swelling can also happen at the site of the injection.
- Tiredness, muscle pain, headache, shivering, fever, stomach pain, and nausea are common after recombinant shingles vaccine.
These side effects may temporarily prevent a vaccinated person from doing regular activities. Symptoms usually go away on their own in 2 to 3 days. You should still get the second dose of recombinant shingles vaccine even if you had one of these reactions after the first dose.
Guillain-Barré syndrome , a serious nervous system disorder, has been reported very rarely after recombinant zoster vaccine.
People sometimes faint after medical procedures, including vaccination. Tell your provider if you feel dizzy or have vision changes or ringing in the ears.
As with any medicine, there is a very remote chance of a vaccine causing a severe allergic reaction, other serious injury, or death.
When They Start How Long They Last
The shingles vaccine is given in a two-shot series. You may experience side effects after the first, second, or both shots. Most of the time, these symptoms are mild and occur immediately following vaccination. They typically only last for two or three days.
Side effects of the shingles vaccine are more common in younger people, and might interrupt your normal daily activities for a few days.
This may seem like a downside of the shingles vaccine, but remember that these symptoms are a result of the creation of a strong shingles defense within your body.
It is OK to take Tylenol or Advil after a shingles vaccine to relieve symptoms. Rest and plenty of fluids may help, too.
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A New Shingles Vaccine
- U.S. News & World Report
If youre 50 or older, you’re advised to get immunized to protect yourself from shingles. If the new shingles vaccine made you feel worse than you expected, you’re not alone. Skin rash, joint pain, flu-like symptoms, headaches and fatigue are some complaints from patients who’ve had the recently approved Shingrix vaccine. Side effects can last two or three days, and the injection site in the upper arm can hurt. “Part of the problem is that health care providers may not have fully understood the instructions of administration,” said Talia Swartz, MD, PhD, assistant professor of medicine and infectious diseases at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Providers can refer to the website of Shingrix manufacturer GSK for complete administration instructions for this relatively unfamiliar vaccine, Dr. Swartz suggested. “As providers are more comfortable with it, I believe the administration errors would be expected to be reduced,” she said.
– Talia Swartz, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor, Medicine, Infectious Diseases, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
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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How Effective Is The Vaccine
Shingrix is FDA-approved for adults ages 50 and up. Youll receive the two doses two to six months apart. It’s not a live virus, so it can be given to patients who are immunosuppressed, explains Susan Lee, M.D., an internist and associate professor of clinical medicine at Stony Brook University Renaissance School of Medicine in Stony Brook, NY. Shingrix has replaced an older vaccine, Zostavax , which research showed was only 70% effective at preventing the virus, while Shingrix is 97% effective in adults ages 50 to 69, and 91% effective in adults over 70.
How Do I Spot A Severe Reaction
Severe reaction with the shingles vaccine is rarebut possible. I would say if you get a very robust response with shaking and chills, call your physician for directions on how to proceed, says Dr. Lee. If you break out in hives or have difficulty breathing, it could be an allergic reaction,” meaning you need to be seen by a doctor, STAT. Dr. Lee says she hasnt seen it with Shingrix in her practice. That said, as with all immunizations, there is a small risk of a reaction occurring.
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What Is Shingrix The New Shingles Vaccine
Shingrix, approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in late 2017, is more likely to cause short-term side effects than either Zostavax or other vaccines for adults, said Dr. Kathleen Dooling, a medical officer in the division of viral diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
One of the important things is to go into this vaccination knowing that youll probably have some side effects after and be prepared for those, Dooling told TODAY.
The advice weve been giving people is that if you plan to get the vaccine, in the day or two afterwards, dont plan any big, strenuous activities. For example, dont plan a big gardening project… dont plan your big golf game for that period.
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.
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Side Effects Requiring Immediate Medical Attention
Along with its needed effects, zoster vaccine, inactivated may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur while taking zoster vaccine, inactivated:
- Ankle, knee, or great toe joint pain
- fever greater than 39 degree Celsius
- joint stiffness or swelling
- lower back or side pain
- swollen, painful, or tender lymph glands in the neck, armpit, or groin
Incidence not known
- Hives, welts, or itching
- inability to move the arms and legs
- large, hive-like swelling on the face, eyelids, lips, tongue, throat, hands, legs, feet, or sex organs
- redness of the skin
- sudden numbness and weakness in the arms and legs
Will I Feel Flu
Whether its your first or second shot, you may feel like you caught a mild flu in the days that follow. One in five people will have fevers or more systemic symptoms that kind of wipe them out, Dr. Weisenberg says. According to research, 44.5% experienced fatigue, while 37.7% developed a headache, and 20.5% spiked a fever. The same studies showed that side effects lasted an average of two to three days, and reactions were more likely after the second dose.
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What Everyone Should Know About The Shingles Vaccine
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.
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.
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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.
Who Should Not Get Shingrix
You should not get Shingrix if you:
- Have ever had a severe allergic reaction to any component of the vaccine or after a dose of Shingrix.
- Currently have shingles.
- Currently are pregnant. Women who are pregnant should wait to get Shingrix.
If you have a minor illness, such as a cold, you may get Shingrix. But if you have a moderate or severe illness, with or without fever, you should usually wait until you recover before getting the vaccine.
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When To See A Doctor
A more serious reaction to vaccines is rare and isnt always cause to not receive any more vaccinations in the future. For the most part, reactions are mild and go away in a few days. But there are some instances where you should contact your healthcare provider for medical advice.
Some serious vaccine side effects include:
- Shoulder pain: This occurs when you receive the shot too high on your upper arm. This can cause pain that starts within 48 hours along with difficulty moving your shoulder around. It lasts longer than the normal timeline for injection site reaction for that vaccine and taking pain medication doesnt relieve the pain.
- Infection: Its rare, but receiving a shot punctures your skin, and does put you at a very small chance of the area becoming infected, causing pain, redness, and injection site nodules. If this occurs, its likely you would need to be treated with antibiotics.
- Anaphylaxis: The risk of a serious allergic reaction is about 1.31 for every million vaccine doses. Symptoms of anaphylaxis include swelling of the face, lips, and neck along with rapid heartbeat, and trouble breathing. It usually happens immediately after and in lesser cases, several hours post-vaccination. Very few people will have an anaphylactic reaction after 24 hours.
Redness At Injection Site
Redness at and around the injection site is common and may appear immediately or some days after receiving Shingrix. This redness commonly develops due to a localized immune system response, which shouldnt cause further concern.
Arm redness should disappear within a few days after receiving the vaccine. However, if you experience redness with a rash or severe pain, let your doctor know as soon as possible.
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Side Effects Of Shingrix
Shingrix comes with one drawback, though, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . Some of thecommon side effects, like arm pain, redness at the injection site, muscle pain and fevers became more common. They can last up to three days and be intense enough to limit your activity during that time.
Injection-site reactions during the clinical trial were common. Heres what patients experienced:
If you have pain or swelling at the injection site, Baker says, You can take Tylenol or ibuprofen. She adds that injection-site reactions like pain, redness and swelling expected and normal.
Systemic effects were also common, with 10% of people reporting that the symptoms were intense enough to limit their activity. Others reported the following:
- 17% gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea or diarrhea
If you are experiencing systemic symptoms after taking the vaccination, Baker says, Its certainly fine to take through the first two to three days when having symptoms. If the symptoms last longer than that, she says its time to call your healthcare provider.
The vaccine also may increase the risk of Guillain-Barre syndrome, a rare complication that can cause temporary paralysis.
As with any vaccine, anaphylactic shock is less likely, but a possible reaction. If you have hives, swelling of the face or throat, difficulty breathing or an elevated heart rate within hours of receiving the vaccine, you should contact your healthcare provider right away.
What Are Shingles Symptoms
Before we talk about the vaccine, let’s look at the virus. The hallmark of shingles is a blistering rash in a single stripe, but often pain and itching is felt on the skin days before the rash actually appears. Other symptoms may include fever, chills, headache, and upset stomach. Shingles can cause severe pain for days, weeks, or even months, says Dr. Weisenberg. It can be especially serious if it affects an area such as the eye, potentially leading to blindness. Preventing an outbreak with the vaccine is a smart move, he adds.
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Fever And Feelings Of Malaise
Fever is one of the most common side effects of many vaccines, including Shingrix. This symptom often accompanies other feelings of malaise, such as muscle pains, chills, and headaches. A fever indicates that the bodys immune system is doing its job of responding to the vaccine.
Ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and other OTC fever reducers can help keep a fever and many accompanying symptoms at bay. However, if you develop a high-grade fever of 103°F or higher, reach out to your doctor immediately.