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.
Shingrix Is Not A Live Vaccine
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 .
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.
Shingrix is also a recombinant vaccine. This means that its made of parts of the shingles virus, such as protein, sugar, or capsid .
There used to be an alternative shingles vaccine to Shingrix. This other vaccine was called Zostavax.
Like Shingrix, it was approved to prevent shingles . However, Zostavax is
Below, we briefly describe the similarities and differences between these two vaccines.
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.
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How Safe Is Shingrix
studies showed that Shingrix was safe and effective.
There have been concerns about ingredients, such as thimerosal, that may be added to vaccines. Thimerosal is a kind of preservative that contains mercury. Its added then taken out of some vaccines to keep other germs and bacteria from growing. The concern arose when early research connected thimerosal to autism. This link has since been found to be false. Shingrix doesnt contain thimerosal.
What Should Immunocompromised Patients Know
Immunocompromised means that a persons body has:
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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How Well Does Zostavax Work
Zostavax®, the shingles vaccine, reduced the risk of shingles by 51% and the risk of post-herpetic neuralgia by 67% based on a large study of more than 38,000 adults aged 60 years or older. Protection from shingles vaccine lasts about 5 years.
While the vaccine was most effective in people 60 through 69 years old, it also provides some protection for people 70 years old and older.
Adults vaccinated before age 60 years might not be protected later in life when the risk for shingles and its complications are greatest.
More Common Side Effects
The more common side effects of Shingrix can include:
- pain, redness, and swelling at site of injection*
- dizziness or fainting
- flu-like symptoms, including fever, shivering, and tiredness
Most of these side effects may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If theyre more severe or dont go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
* For more information about this side effect, see Side effect details below.
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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.
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.
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Who Should Not Get Zostavax
Some people should not get shingles vaccine :
The Shingles Prevention Study involved individuals age 60 years and older and found that Zostavax significantly reduced disease in this age group. The vaccine is currently recommended for persons 60 years of age and older.
- A person who has ever had a life-threatening or severe allergic reaction to gelatin, the antibiotic neomycin, or any other component of shingles vaccine. Tell your doctor if you have any severe allergies.
- A person who has a weakened immune system because of:
- HIV/AIDS or another disease that affects the immune system,
- treatment with drugs that affect the immune system, such as steroids,
- cancer treatment such as radiation or chemotherapy, or
- cancer affecting the bone marrow or lymphatic system, such as leukemia or lymphoma.
Someone with a minor acute illness, such as a cold, may be vaccinated. But anyone with a moderate or severe acute illness should usually wait until they recover before getting the vaccine. This includes anyone with a temperature of 101.3°F or higher.
This information was taken from the Shingles Vaccine Information Statement dated 10/06/2009.
Shingles Vaccine And Insurance
Private health insurance plans often cover vaccination costs. Still, a patient might have a charge depending on the specific insurance plan.
Medicaid may or may not cover the vaccine cost.Medicare Part D plans cover the shingles vaccine, but there may be a cost to the patient depending on the plan. Usually, the fees are less than $50 per dose.
Medicare Part B does not cover the shingles vaccine.
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Reporting Of Vaccine Adverse Events
Adverse events that occur in a patient following vaccination can be reported to the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System . Reporting is encouraged for any clinically significant adverse event even if it is uncertain whether the vaccine caused the event. Information on how to submit a report to VAERS is available at or by telephone at 1-800-822-7967.
* This recommendation became official CDC policy in January 2018.
Zoster vaccine live is no longer available for use in the United States, as of November 18, 2020.
§Grade 3 reactions are defined as reactions related to vaccination severe enough to prevent normal activities.
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.
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.
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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Are Shingrix And Zostavax The Same
Both Shingrix and Zostavax can decrease the risk of shingles. However, they differ in effectiveness, administration, and side effects. Shingrix is a recombinant zoster vaccine and Zostavax is a live vaccine. Meaning, Shingrix contains an inactivated form of the varicella-zoster virus and Zostavax contains a live, weakened form of the virus. Another difference is that Shingrix is injected into the muscle while Zostavax is injected underneath the skin. Compared to Zostavax, Shingrix is a newer shingles vaccine.
What Is The Shingrix Vaccine
Shingrix is the U.S. Food and Drug Administrationapproved vaccine aimed to prevent shingles infection in individuals older than 50 years and adults aged 18 years and older who are or who will be at increased risk of shingles due to a disease or therapy that can compromise the immunity.
- A particular complication of shingles is postherpetic neuralgia , which persists for months after the infection subsides.
- It is characterized by extreme pain at the former site of rash and lesions.
- This pain may or may not respond to strong medications hence, a vaccine against shingles is required.
The Shingrix vaccine works by exposing the body to small doses of the inactive herpes virus. This stimulates the bodys immune system and helps the body to develop an immunity to herpes zoster or shingles.
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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.
When Should You Get Vaccinated Against Shingles
Most people should be vaccinated against shingles at ages 50 and over. People ages 18 and over who have health conditions or take medications that can weaken the immune system should consider getting the shingles vaccine before age 50.
For people receiving the vaccine at ages 50 and over, there is no particular time and no maximum age when you should be vaccinated.
Vaccination against shingles can be done on its own or alongside other vaccinations, like for the flu or pneumonia. Generally, the vaccine is given in two doses, with the second dose given 2 to 6 months after the first dose.
For people who are receiving the shingles vaccine because of an immune deficiency, the second dose can be given sooner: 1 to 2 months after the first dose.
In this case, if possible, shingles vaccination should be timed with your immune response. This could mean waiting until after a flare-up of your condition has subsided or getting the vaccine before you receive certain immune-suppressing medications.
7 years and remains effective afterward.
Speak with a doctor about how often you should be vaccinated for shingles based on your specific immune system and health concerns.
The shingles vaccine that is currently available in the United States was introduced in 2017, so you may have questions about it. Below are answers to some of the most common questions.
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Research Into Mrna Vaccines For Shingles
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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How Does The New Vaccine Work
Shingrix contains broken-down parts of the virus which then allow the body to build up immunity to the virus. When the body confronts the actual virus in the future, it mounts a response to keep the infection at bay. The vaccine also contains molecules that make the bodys immune response stronger and last longer.
For these reasons, Shingrix provides better and longer-lasting protection against both shingles and PHN than the older vaccine, Zostavax.
Protection from the older vaccine wore off after approximately eight years, but we believe Shingrix to last much longer.
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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 .
Coverage And Cost Comparison Of Shingrix Vs Zostavax
For adults aged 50 years and older, only plans with Medicare Part D coverage will cover the Shingrix vaccine. However, there may still be a copay even with Medicare Part D coverage. The average cash price for one Shingrix dose is $167, though you may be able to use a prescription discount card to lower this cost. Check with your local pharmacy to see if you can use a Shingrix SingleCare card.
Like Shingrix, Zostavax is primarily covered by Medicare Part D plans or Medicare Advantage plans with Medicare Part D coverage. The copay for Zostavax with insurance can vary. With an average cash price of $278, Zostavax can be expensive with or without insurance. Using a prescription discount card for Zostavax may be able to reduce this cost.
*not reportedFrequency is not based on data from a head-to-head trial. This may not be a complete list of adverse effects that can occur. Please refer to your doctor or healthcare provider to learn more.Source: DailyMed , DailyMed
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How Cdc Monitors Vaccine Safety
CDC and FDA monitor the safety of vaccines after they are approved or authorized. If a problem is found with a vaccine, CDC and FDA will inform health officials, health care providers, and the public.
CDC uses 3 systems to monitor vaccine safety:
- The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System : an early warning system, co-managed by CDC and FDA, to monitor for potential vaccine safety problems. Anyone can report possible vaccine side effects to VAERS.
- The Vaccine Safety Datalink : a collaboration between CDC and 9 health care organizations that conducts vaccine safety monitoring and research.
- The Clinical Immunization Safety Assessment Project: a partnership between CDC and several medical research centers that provides expert consultation and conducts clinical research on vaccine-associated health risks.