Benefits Of Shingles Vaccination
Shingles vaccination significantly reduces your risk of developing shingles. Vaccination of older adults reduces the number of shingles cases in that population by about half, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
Adults who get shingles despite vaccination typically get a much milder case than unvaccinated adults. Vaccination also greatly reduces an individuals risk of shingles complications, including post-herpetic neuralgia or vision loss.
Studies have found that the Shingrix vaccine is 97% effective in preventing shingles in adults ages 50 to 69 and 91% effective in adults ages 70 and older. The vaccine is 91% effective in preventing PHN in adults ages 50 to 69 and 89% effective in preventing this complication in adults ages 70 and older.
The Shingrix vaccine does not contain any live virus, so you cannot contract shingles from vaccination.
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.
Does The Shingles Vaccine Contain Thimerosal
You may be concerned about additives to the shingles vaccine, like thimerosal.
Thimerosal is a preservative that contains mercury. Its added to some vaccines to prevent bacteria and other germs from growing in them. The shingles vaccine contains thimerosal.
The worry about thimerosal arose when early research linked it to autism. This connection has since been found to be untrue.
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How Long After Ive Received The Shingles Vaccine Am I Contagious
With the currently authorized shingles vaccine, Shingrix, you wont be contagious. The old vaccine, Zostavax, used a weakened form of the live varicella-zoster virus. Therefore, people worried about spreading the disease to the people around them.
Shingrix doesnt use a live version of the varicella-zoster virus. It is inactivated, which means it uses a dead version of the virus. Therefore, you have no risk of transmitting the disease to anyone.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
No one likes to get shots, especially for something youve already been vaccinated for. But the newer version of the shingles vaccine is one youll want to offer up your arm for. The Shingrix vaccine is more than 90% effective at helping you prevent shingles. Since most of us have had chickenpox in the past, the shingles vaccine is an easy way to prevent the dormant chickenpox virus from creeping up and hitting you again with shingles.
What Should I Tell My Doctor Before I Get The Shingles Vaccine
Tell him or her if:
- You have any severe allergy, or know you are allergic to any part of the shingles vaccine.
- You had an allergic reaction to the first dose of the recombinant zoster vaccine.
- You have a weak immune system, such as from HIV, cancer, or cancer treatment.
- You know or think you are pregnant. Your provider will tell you when to come in for the shingles vaccine.
- You are breastfeeding. Your provider will tell you if it is okay to get a shingles vaccine while you are breastfeeding.
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Who Should Get The Shingles Vaccine
The CDC recommends all healthy adults ages 50 years and older get two doses of the shingles vaccine to prevent shingles and problems that can develop after youve had the disease. The two doses should be separated by two to six months. You should get the shingles vaccine even if you:
- Have had shingles: If youve had shingles in the past, you should get the shingles vaccine to help prevent getting the disease again. You should wait until the shingles rash is gone before getting the vaccine.
- Arent sure if youve had chickenpox: Studies show more than 99% of Americans ages 40 and older have had chickenpox at some point in their lives. You should get the shingles vaccine whether or not you remember having chickenpox because theyre caused by the same virus.
- Received the old shingles vaccine : Before November 18, 2020, people were vaccinated with a shingles vaccine called Zostavax. You cant get Zostavax in the United States anymore. If you were vaccinated with Zostavax, you should get vaccinated with the new shingles vaccine, Shingrix.
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 Should Not Get A Shingles Vaccine
If your immune system is weakened for any reason, or if you have tuberculosis, you should not get a shingles vaccine. Its also not recommended if youre getting radiation or chemotherapy, or if youve had leukemia or lymphoma.
Those who are pregnant should not receive the shingles vaccine, and women should not plan on conceiving for at least three months after receiving the shot.
Some people may be allergic to some of the ingredients in the vaccine, such as gelatin. If youre not sure, or if you have any concerns, just speak with us. Well be glad to provide details to help you make the right decision.
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.
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What Questions Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider
Its normal to have questions before you get a vaccine. Some common questions you may want to discuss with your healthcare provider include:
- When should I get the shingles vaccine?
- What side effects should I expect?
- How does the shingles vaccine work?
- When should I schedule each dose of the shingles vaccine?
- How effective is the shingles vaccine?
- Is there any reason I shouldnt get the shingles vaccine?
- What could happen if I dont get the shingles vaccine?
How Effective Is The Shingles Vaccine In Preventing Shingles
The shingles vaccine can provide strong protection against shingles and postherpetic neuralgia , the most commonly occurring shingles complication.
The shingles vaccine is 97% effective in preventing shingles in people ages 50 to 69 years old. Its 91% effective in people ages 70 years and older.
In addition, the shingles vaccine is 91% effective in preventing PHN in people ages 50 to 69 years old. Its 89% effective in people ages 70 years and older.
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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.
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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Can You Get Shingles After Being Vaccinated
Shingles is a viral infection. It presents with a rash followed by an episode of intense pain in the infected area. This is caused by the virus called varicella zoster. This virus also causes chickenpox. If a child has had chickenpox, the virus may not completely go away, lie dormant in the body and come back years later as shingles. Older individuals and immunocompromised individuals are more likely to develop shingles. The shingles vaccine is generally recommended for those older than 50 years of age and immunocompromised individuals .
The United States Food and Drug Administration has approved two vaccines to effectively prevent shingles: Zostavax and Shingrix. Shingrix provides strong protection against shingles and postherpetic neuralgia . Two doses of Shingrix are more than 90 percent effective at preventing shingles and postherpetic neuralgia. The vaccine is more than 85 percent effective for at least the first four years after vaccination. It is possible to get shingles after being vaccinated since no vaccine is 100 percent effective. However, the vaccine can considerably reduce the risk and intensity of shingles episodes.
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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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.
Who Should Not Get The Vaccine
It is safe for most people to get two doses of Shingrix. However, you should talk to your healthcare provider before getting the shingles vaccine if:
- You are pregnant
- You have severe allergies to any of the Shingrix ingredients
- You have ever experienced a severe allergic reaction to Shingrix
If you have a mild sickness, such as a cold, its usually safe to get the shingles vaccine. If you are moderately or severely ill, you should wait until you feel better to get your next dose of Shingrix.
You should still get the shingles vaccine if you dont remember having the chickenpox virus in the past and if youve had shingles previously. Shingrix can protect you against developing shingles again in the future.
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Who Shouldnt Get The Shingles Vaccine
There are a few situations in which shingles vaccination may not be right for you. You should not get Shingrix if youâve ever had a severe reaction to a vaccine. This means you had trouble breathing or swelling in your mouth or airway, a life-threatening condition called anaphylaxis.
You should also skip Shingrix if:
- You have allergies to any parts of the vaccine. These include gelatin and the antibiotic neomycin. If you have other allergies, tell your doctor or pharmacist about them before you get Shingrix.
- You currently have shingles or another illness. You can get the vaccine when youâre well.
- You are pregnant or breastfeeding. You should wait until youâve stopped breastfeeding to get vaccinated.
- You happened to test negative for VZV, the virus that causes chickenpox. If youâre older than 50, you probably had chickenpox even if you donât remember it. The CDC does not recommend testing for this. However, if a blood test shows youâve never had the childhood illness, you should get the chickenpox vaccine instead.
If you have a disease or take medications that affect your immune system, talk to your doctor about the pros and cons of Shingrix.
âItâs an individualized decision based on factors such as the specific medications and conditions of the person sitting in front of you,â Kistler says. She often consults with her patientsâ specialist doctors to make decisions about Shingrix.
Prevent The Spread Of The Shingles Virus:
The virus can be passed to a person who has never had chickenpox. This usually happens if the other person comes in contact with your open sores. This person may get chickenpox, but not shingles. You are contagious until your blisters scab over. Stay away from people who have not had chickenpox or the chickenpox vaccine. Avoid pregnant women, newborns, and people with weak immune systems. They have a higher risk of infection.
- Wash your hands often. Wash your hands several times each day. Wash after you use the bathroom, change a child’s diaper, and before you prepare or eat food. Use soap and water every time. Rub your soapy hands together, lacing your fingers. Wash the front and back of your hands, and in between your fingers. Use the fingers of one hand to scrub under the fingernails of the other hand. Wash for at least 20 seconds. Rinse with warm, running water for several seconds. Then dry your hands with a clean towel or paper towel. Use hand sanitizer that contains alcohol if soap and water are not available. Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth without washing your hands first.
- Cover a sneeze or cough. Use a tissue that covers your mouth and nose. Throw the tissue away in a trash can right away. Use the bend of your arm if a tissue is not available. Wash your hands well with soap and water or use a hand sanitizer.
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Is Shingles Contagious
Shingles is not contagious but is the reactivation of a virus already present in the body.
However, a person with shingles can give chickenpox to someone who has never had the VZV infection before.
Therefore, people with shingles should avoid contact with those who have never had chickenpox until their rash has completely healed. To catch the virus, someone must have direct contact with the rash.
To avoid spreading VZV, people with shingles should:
- Avoid close contact with people who have never had chickenpox or been vaccinated for chickenpox.
- Avoid close contact with low birth-weight infants and people with a compromised immune system, such as those on HIV medication or who have had an organ transplant.
- Keep the rash covered with loose, natural clothing to avoid others coming into contact with it.
- Wash their hands frequently, especially after touching the rash or applying lotions to the skin.
There is a vaccination available to reduce the risk of developing shingles and experiencing long-term complications, such as PHN.
The recommends that adults aged 50 years and older have two doses of the Shingrex vaccination over a 2-6 month period. It is believed to be more than 90% effective at preventing shingles and PHN.
People who have already had shingles can have the vaccine to prevent future occurrences.