Why Is Vaccination Against Shingles Recommended
While shingles can get better on its own, having the shingles vaccine can prevent you from getting shingles at all. If you do get shingles, vaccination can prevent you from getting the complications of shingles and prevent you from getting shingles again. The most common complication from the shingles infection is pain after the infection has gone and 1 in 5 people experience it. The pain can carry on for months to years after the infection, and is described as burning, sharp and jabbing, or deep and aching. This is called postherpetic neuralgia .
Other complications from shingles infection include glaucoma, vision loss, facial weakness and hearing loss.
Shingles Vaccine For Older Adults
Shingles is caused by the same virus as chickenpox. If you had chickenpox, the virus is still in your body. The virus could become active again and cause shingles.
Shingles affects the nerves. Common symptoms include burning, shooting pain, tingling, and/or itching, as well as a rash with fluid-filled blisters. Even when the rash disappears, the pain can remain. This is called post-herpetic neuralgia, or PHN.
The shingles vaccine is safe and it may keep you from getting shingles and PHN. Healthy adults age 50 and older should get vaccinated with the shingles vaccine, which is given in two doses.
You should get a shingles shot even if you have already had chickenpox, the chickenpox vaccine, or shingles, received Zostavax, or dont remember having had chickenpox. However, you should not get a vaccine if you currently have shingles, are sick or have a fever, have a weakened immune system, or have had an allergic reaction to Shingrix. Check with your doctor if you are not sure what to do.
You can get the shingles vaccine at your doctors office and at some pharmacies. Medicare Part D and private health insurance plans may cover some or all of the cost. Check with Medicare or your health plan to find out if it is covered.
The Biology Behind That Blistering Rash
During the initial exposure to chickenpox, some of the virus particles settle into the nerve cells around the spinal cord and brain. When the virus reactivates sometimes decades later, as a result of things like stress it travels down those nerve fibers to the skin. As the virus multiplies, the telltale rash erupts.
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Can You Get The Shingles If You Haven T Had The Chicken Pox
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Can you still get chickenpox if you had the vaccine?
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What About The Vaccine
- Shingrix2 is a vaccine indicated for prevention of herpes zoster and related complications in adults aged 50 years and older. Two doses of Shingrix in immunocompromised adults can help to provide strong protection against shingles and postherpetic neuralgia , which is longâterm nerve pain, the most common complication of shingles. For updated recommendations about Shingrix, visit the CDC website: CDC.gov/Vaccines/VPD/Shingles/HCP/Shingrix/Recommendations.html
- The twoâdose Shingrix vaccine series has been shown to be 97% effective in preventing shingles in adults aged 50 to 69 and 91% effective for those 70 and older.
- The twoâdose Shingrix vaccine was 91% effective in preventing PHN in adults aged 50 to 69 and 89% effective in those 70 and older.
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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.
How Long After Shingles Can A Person Get Vaccinated
Keith Roach, M.D.
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am 81 years old and was diagnosed with shingles at the end of October 2020. After taking famciclovir, I am healing, but still have a scaly rash and shooting pains on the right side of my head where the shingles occurred. I was told that the pain could last for a year or more. Is this true? The initial outbreak was on my scalp, forehead, brow and eye area. I did see my ophthalmologist and was fortunate that the shingles did not get into my eye, just on my eyelid.
I also saw my physician, who recommended I get the shingles vaccine in February 2021. My eye doctor disagrees and said to wait six to nine months. What is the recommended time span between the onset of shingles and getting the vaccine? How long does the vaccine protect someone? Once you have the vaccine, can you ever get shingles again? L.H.
ANSWER: Both your doctors are right. Your regular doctor who recommended a four-month time span is correct, but your eye doctor, who said six to nine months, is right also. In fact, the vaccine may be given at any time after the shingles lesions are healed . Getting shingles again within a year is very unlikely, so it is fine to wait up to a year after the bout of shingles.
The length of protection seems to be long. But this is still a new vaccine, and it is unclear how long the protection will last.
* * *
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Herpes Zoster Vaccine: Canadian Immunization Guide
For health professionals
Last complete revision:
July 2018 This chapter was revised to reflect NACI’s Updated Recommendations on the Use of Herpes Zoster Vaccines. Most sections were revised to include information and practice recommendations for the new recombinant zoster vaccine which is now available in Canada. Changes include:
- Recommendations for use in different populations.
- Contraindications and precautions.
- Administration of the HZ vaccines: Table 1 was added to summarize key information.
- Considerations on the efficacy, effectiveness and immunogenicity of HZ vaccines: Table 2 was added to summarize key information.
- Vaccine safety and adverse events.
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
- tested negative for immunity to varicella zoster virus. If you test negative, you should get chickenpox vaccine.
- currently have shingles
- currently are pregnant or breastfeeding. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should wait to get Shingrix.
If you have a minor acute illness, such as a cold, you may get Shingrix. But if you have a moderate or severe acute illness, you should usually wait until you recover before getting the vaccine. This includes anyone with a temperature of 101.3°F or higher.
The side effects of the Shingrix are temporary, and usually last 2 to 3 days. While you may experience pain for a few days after getting Shingrix, the pain will be less severe than having shingles and the complications from the disease.
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Can You Prevent Shingles
In Canada, there are two approved shingles vaccines, Shingrix and Zostavax II. Health Canada recommends that individuals over the age of 50 be vaccinated against shingles, even if they’ve experienced a shingles flare-up before.
You should talk to your health care provider about which vaccine is right for you based on your personal medical history.
With files from Gail Johnson.
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What Is Shingles And How Can Shingrix Help Protect Against It
Shingles is an itchy and painful skin rash caused by reactivation of the varicella zoster virus . SHINGRIX works to boost your bodys protection against shingles. It is the only shingles vaccine proven to be greater than 90% effective in preventing shingles in adults 50 years and older in clinical trials.
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Very Common And Common Adverse Events
Very common adverse events occur in 10% or more of vaccinees. Common adverse events occur in 1% to less than 10% of vaccinees.
Injection site reactions are very commonly reported for both LZV and RZV. For LZV recipients the frequency is slightly higher in adults aged < 60 years. For all ages, the majority of these events were rated mild or moderate in intensity and lasted less than 2 days.
Due to the adjuvant in RZV, which induces a high cellular immune response and helps address the natural age-related decline in immunity, RZV is more reactogenic than LZV.
Injection site AEs are very commonly reported by recipients of RZV. Approximately 80% report injection-site pain and approximately 30% report redness at the site of injection.
Systemic adverse events, primarily fatigue and myalgia are common in LZV recipients and very common in RZV recipients . For RZV, they include headache .
Local and systemic reactions that were severe enough to interfere with normal activities have been more frequently reported following the receipt of RZV than LZV. However, these reactions have been temporary . Patient education on the short-term reactogenicity of the RZV is recommended prior to vaccine administration to promote adherence to the second dose.
Have Pain Meds Handyjust In Case
There is no need to do anything before your vaccine, Dr. Patel says. Most people have very mild symptoms such as soreness of the arm at the site of the injection, so be sure to choose the non-dominant arm, she says. However, if after getting the vaccine you have a fever or feel achy, she suggests taking an over-the-counter pain medicine such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Symptoms should resolve in a day or two,” she says.
In rare cases, a patient may have an anaphylactic reaction. Signs of this serious side effect include swelling of the face, dizziness, and trouble breathing. If these are symptoms you experience, seek medical assistance immediately, Dr. Patel says.
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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.
Why More Adults Arent Getting The Super
Despite such impressive results, only about 35 percent of adults 60 and older reported receiving the shingles vaccine in 2018. Whats behind the hesitation? A couple of things. First, says Kristin Christensen, M.D., an internal medicine specialist affiliated with Penn Medicine, in Radnor, Pennsylvania, some of us dont take shingles as seriously as we should: People think, If its not going to kill me I dont need it, without realizing that singles can be incapacitating, causing severe pain that can really limit peoples functioning.
Whats more, difficulty in getting the vaccine may have discouraged those who sought out the vaccine earlier on. The company that makes the vaccine couldnt keep up with the initial demand, resulting in long waiting lists at pharmacies that dispensed the vaccines.
Then theres the hit to your wallet. Shingrix costs on average about $195 per injection, and two injections are required. But unlike the flu and pneumonia vaccines, which are fully covered as preventive services under Medicare Part B, the shingles shot falls under the prescription drug plan under Medicare Part D. Depending on your plan, even after youve met your annual deductible youll likely end up shelling out money for it. If youre between the ages of 50 and 65, and covered by a private health insurance, ask your doctor about getting your vaccine now, while youve got good coverage, Schaffner suggests.
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Where Can I Get Vaccinated
The best place to go for vaccinations is your family medical clinic. They have your medical records and can check to see if youve already had a particular vaccination. Either your doctor or a nurse can give the vaccination.If you dont have a family doctor, you can go to one of the after-hour medical clinics. Phone them first to make sure they can help you with the vaccination you need.You can find a clinic near you on the Healthpoint website. Put in your address and region, and under Select a service, click on GPs/Accident & Urgent Medical Care.Vaccines on the National Immunisation Schedule are free. Other vaccines are funded only for people at particular risk of disease. You can choose to pay for vaccines that you are not eligible to receive for free.
Side Effects And Counseling For Reactogenicity
In eight clinical trials of more than 10,000 participants, grade 3 reactions were common after patients received Shingrix. About 1 out of 10 adults who received Shingrix reported grade 3 injection-site symptoms such as pain, redness, and swelling. Also, about 1 out of 10 reported grade 3 systemic reactions such as myalgia, fatigue, headache, shivering, fever, and gastrointestinal illness. Most people who got Shingrix reported at least some pain at the injection site.
Healthcare providers should counsel patients about expected reactogenicity before administering Shingrix.
What to tell patients about the side effects of Shingrix:
Most people have a sore arm after they get Shingrix. Many people have redness and swelling on their arm spanning several inches where they got the shot. Many people also felt tired or experienced muscle pain, a headache, shivering, fever, stomach pain, or nausea. About 1 out of 6 people had symptoms severe enough to prevent them from doing regular activities. You should plan to avoid strenuous activities, such as yardwork or swimming, for a few days after vaccination. Remember that the pain from shingles can last a lifetime, and these side effects should only last 2 to 3 days.
The impact of prophylactic analgesics in conjunction with Shingrix has not been studied. However, you may suggest patients take over-the-counter ibuprofen or acetaminophen to ease discomfort from side effects.
Read Also: Shingrix At Walgreens
Who Shouldnt Get The Shingles Vaccine
You shouldnt receive the shingles vaccine if:
- Youve had a previous severe allergic reaction to Shingrix or any of its ingredients.
- Youre pregnant or breastfeeding.
- You have no immunity to chickenpox, which means you should get the chickenpox vaccine instead.
Having a mild illness like a cold isnt a reason to not get your shingles vaccine.
However, if you have a moderate to severe illness or a fever of 101.3 or higher, you should recover before getting your shingles vaccine.
state that the COVID-19 vaccine may be given without regard to the timing of other vaccines.
This means you dont have to wait to receive your COVID-19 and shingles vaccinations.
In fact, you can get your COVID-19 vaccine and shingles vaccine at the same time. If you choose to do this, make sure to receive your injections at two different sites.