When Should You Get Immunised Against Shingles
Anyone aged 60 years and over who wants to protect themselves against shingles can talk to their doctor about getting immunised.
Shingles immunisation is recommended for:
- adults aged 60 years and over who have not previously received zoster vaccine
- adults aged 70 years to 79 years, for free under the National Immunisation Program
- adults aged 50 or over who live in the same household as someone who has a weakened immune system.
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.
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.
Is Shingrix Safe For Everyone
Ask your doctor, pharmacist, or healthcare provider if Shingrix is right for you. You should not get the Shingrix vaccine if you:
- Have ever had a severe allergic reaction to any component of the vaccine
- Had a severe allergic reaction to your first dose of Shingrix
- Currently have shingles
- Have a fever of 101.3°F or higher
- Have a weakened immune system due to a condition or medication
- Have had a stem cell transplant
- Are pregnant or breastfeeding
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How Do You Get Immunised Against Shingles
You can only get the shingles vaccine on its own, not as a combination vaccine. It is given as a needle.
Shingles vaccines include:
Note the Zostavax vaccine contains a small amount of the live virus. Some people may not be able to receive a live vaccine for medical reasons, please discuss with your doctor or immunisation provider for further information.
Side Effects Of The Shingles Vaccine
The vaccine comes in two doses given 2-6 months apart. Two doses of the vaccine provide over 91-97% protection against getting the shingles. Not only does it protect against shingles, but postherpetic neuralgia as well, which is a common complication of shingles.
While the vaccine can be extremely helpful, there are mild and serious side effects to it.
Mild Side Effects
Mild side effects caused by the shingles vaccine are: redness, swelling, itching, soreness, headache, shivering, fever, stomach pain, and nausea. Most of these side effects are easily treatable and go away within a day or two.
Serious Side Effects
A serious side effect that can be caused by the vaccine is anaphylaxis, which is an allergic reaction. Anaphylaxis is a life threatening reaction to something you are allergic to.
Signs of anaphylaxis are: hives, swelling of the face, warmth or redness of the skin, dizziness, trouble breathing, rapid pulse, and an irregular heartbeat. If you experience any of these symptoms after being vaccinated for the shingles, get medical help right away.
Do you have any questions about shingles or the vaccine, Shingrix? Passport Health can help! Shingrix is available at all Passport Health clinics. Give us a call at or book an appointment online and speak to a travel health nurse.
Have you received a shingles vaccine before? Did you know the immunization could cause some side effects? Let us know in the comments, or via and .
Filed Under: General Posts
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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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Allergic Reaction To Shingles Vaccination
There is a very small chance of a severe allergic reaction to the shingles vaccine, as there is with other vaccines.
Anaphylaxis is very serious and potentially life-threatening, but it can be treated. All healthcare staff that deliver vaccinations are trained in this. With prompt treatment, people fully recover from anaphylaxis.
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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.
- Speculation about Zostavax claims settlement value based on the value of similar types of cases and injuries
- Shingrix recall
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
Shingles Vaccine Side Effects
Like all vaccines, the shingles vaccines can cause side effects, but they’re generally mild and do not last long.
Common side effects that occur in at least 1 in 10 people are:
- redness, pain, swelling, itching and warmth at the injection site
If any side effects carry on for longer than a few days, speak to your GP or practice nurse.
Tell your GP if you develop a rash after having the shingles vaccination.
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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.
What Are The Risk Factors For Shingles
Anyone who has had chickenpox can get shingles. In the U.S., most adults had chickenpox when they were children, before the Food and Drug Administration approved the nations first chickenpox vaccine in 1995.
- Age. Shingles is most common in people older than 50.
- Having a weak immune system. Diseases such as HIV/AIDS can increase your risk of shingles.
- Undergoing cancer treatments. Radiation or chemotherapy may trigger shingles.
- Certain medications. Prolonged use of steroids, such as prednisone, and drugs that prevent the rejection of organ transplants can increase your risk of shingles.
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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.
Its a good idea to keep your own vaccination record, listing the types and dates of your shots, along with any side effects or problems.
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 .
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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.
Side Effects Not Requiring Immediate Medical Attention
Some side effects of zoster vaccine, inactivated may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects.
Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:
- pain, redness, and swelling at the injection site
- general feeling of discomfort or illness
- itching at the injection site
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Weighing The Risks Vs Benefits
The vaccine to prevent shingles will help you to avoid shingles symptoms, which in most cases are quite mild but may cause intense pain in some people.
Shingles symptoms come in two stages: the prodromal stage and the eruptive stage. In the first stage, your symptoms may include:
About three to five days later, you develop a prickly and painful pimple-like rash. These pimples turn into blisters during this eruptive stage, and your skin may be red and swollen. Shingles sores also can affect your mouth, which is another symptom the vaccine can prevent.
Shingles isn’t generally life-threatening. It can be, though, if your immune system is compromised. During an outbreak and after the rash clears up, some people may experience complications that require immediate medical attention.
Common ones include:
- Postherpetic neuralgia : Damaged nerves cause lingering pain for three months or more.
- Bacterial skin infections: When shingles blisters pop, bacteria can get in.
- Eye damage: One branch of the trigeminal nerve goes to the eye. Damage there can lead to eye damage, which can be severe.
While you may experience side effects with the vaccine, the benefits outweigh the risks of shingles symptoms and complications in most people.
If you were vaccinated with Zostavaxa shingles vaccine that is no longer being givenask your healthcare provider about getting the Shingrix vaccine.
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.
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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.
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 vaccines possible risks and side effects and what to do if you experience any.
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What Does The Shingles Virus Do
Shingles is a viral infection that is caused by varicella-zoster virus , which is the same virus that causes chickenpox. Anyone who previously had chickenpox, still has the virusit just lies dormant in the body and can develop into the shingles later in life. This is why anyone previously infected with chickenpox can become infected with shingles.
The shingles virus causes a rash to break out, which can often cause itching, burning, and pain. It can last anywhere between two to four weeks and the majority of people infected with the virus do make a full recovery.
The first symptoms to show are: fever, weakness, burning, and tingling. A few days after the initial symptoms, the first signs of the rash will appear. Red or pink blotchy patches will start to appear on your body and can cause shooting pain in some cases, possibly even spreading to the eye. During this stage, shingles is not contagious.
After the initial few days, the rash develops into blisters, which are like chickenpox. They develop over the course of a few days, although they dont spread over your entire body. Blisters commonly occur on the torso and face.
Once blisters develop, shingles can become contagious. No one can catch shingles from someone infected with it, but if you have never had chickenpox or the chickenpox vaccine, you can contract chickenpox from someone who has shingles.
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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Is Shingles Dangerous
Although people do not die from shingles, they can be severely hurt by it. Perhaps the most common and debilitating complication is persistent, long-lived pain. The pain can be so severe that it leads to sleeplessness feelings of helplessness and depression weight loss anorexia interference with basic daily activities, such as dressing, bathing and eating and inability to participate in normal social activities. The pain can last for months or even years. Alongside the pain caused by labor and that of corneal abrasions, the pain caused by shingles is among the most debilitating pains in medicine. Shingles-induced pain can be so relentlessly debilitating that it can be a cause for suicide.
About 15 of every 100 people with shingles have blisters that are associated with nerves around the eyes. This can result in reduced vision and blindness.
Scarring and concurrent bacterial infections can also occur at the site of the rash.
Is The Vaccine Safe
The vaccine can be given to people with a previous history of shingles infection. It should not be given to anyone who currently has shingles. As stated above, the vaccine should not be given to people who are clinically immunosuppressed because the vaccine strain could replicate too much and cause a serious infection. For more information see the MHRA’s Drug Safety Update .
In clinical trials of the vaccine, there have been no reports of someone who was vaccinated passing the virus on to anyone else. However, because the shingles vaccine is a live vaccine, it is thought that this may be possible in rare cases.
There is thought to be a very small risk that someone who has been vaccinated could pass on the virus to someone who is not immune to chickenpox. This is only thought to be a risk if the person who has been vaccinated develops a shingles type rash at the injection site or elsewhere on the body.
The shingles vaccine is not recommended for pregnant women as a matter of caution. However, studies have been carried out on pregnant women who have accidentally received chickenpox or shingles vaccines. These have not shown any link between the weakened virus in the vaccine and any specific problems in babies born to these women. See this Public Health England statement for more information.
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