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When Can You Get Shingles Shot

What Vaccines Can Help Prevent Shingles

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There is currently one vaccine available in the U.S. to prevent shingles. Shingrix was approved in 2017 and it is more than 90% effective in preventing shingles. With Shingrix, you get two shots between 2 and 6 months apart and protection lasts an estimated 4-5 years. Doctors recommend it for healthy people over 50 as well as those 19 years of age and older who are or will be immunodeficient or immunosuppressed due to disease or therapy..

An earlier vaccine called Zostavax was removed from the market in 2020. That vaccine used a weak form of the chickenpox virus to send your bodyâs immune system into action to fight the disease. Shingrix does not. If you received the Zostavax vaccine, it is recommended that you also receive Shingrix.

How Do I Get The Shingles Vaccination

Once you become eligible for the shingles vaccination, a GP or practice nurse will offer you the vaccine when you attend the surgery for general reasons.

You can have a shingles vaccine at the same time as most other vaccines. But try to leave 7 days between the shingles vaccine and a coronavirus vaccine, so that if you have any side effects you’ll know which vaccine they were from.

If you are worried that you may miss out on the shingles vaccination, contact your GP surgery to arrange an appointment to have the vaccine.

Side Effects Of The Shingles Vaccine: Is It Safe

Shingles is a painful rash caused by varicella zoster, the same virus responsible for chickenpox.

If you had chickenpox as a child, the virus hasnt completely gone away. It hides dormant in your body and can reemerge many years later as shingles.

About 1 in 3 people in the United States will develop shingles in their lifetime. This is why vaccination is important. But you should also be prepared for possible side effects. In this article, well discuss the side effects, and talk about who should get the vaccine.

Older adults are most likely to develop shingles. This is why the shingles vaccine is recommended for people ages 50 and older.

Shingrix is the only shingles vaccine approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration .

The Shingrix vaccine is a recombinant vaccine. This means vaccine manufacturers created it by altering and purifying DNA that creates an immune response to fight the virus.

The CDC recommends Shingrix for the prevention of shingles and related complications. The Shingrix vaccine is also recommended for anyone who has already gotten another type of shingles vaccine.

Currently, the CDC recommends healthy people ages 50 and older get the Shingrix vaccine. Doctors administer the vaccine in two doses, which are given 2 to 6 months apart.

The Shingrix vaccine has high success rates in protecting people against shingles.

The Shingrix vaccine is as much as effective in preventing shingles. The same is true for Shingrix and postherpetic neuralgia.

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Is There Anything Else You Think Is Important For People To Know About The Shingles Virus Or The Vaccine

The best way to prevent shingles and avoid its complications is to get vaccinated. Data shows that almost everyone older than age 40 has been exposed to chickenpox at some point. Even if you dont remember having chickenpox as a child, you should get the vaccine.

Glen P. Carlson, MD, HealthPartners

*According to the CDC website: Zostavax 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.

When They Start How Long They Last

What You Should Know About the Shingrix Vaccine for Shingles Prevention

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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When To Call A Doctor

if you:

  • Have a rash or blisters on your face, especially near an eye or on the tip of your nose. This can be a warning of eye problems. Treatment can help prevent permanent eye damage.
  • Think you have shingles. Early treatment with antiviral medicines may help reduce pain and prevent complications of shingles, such as disseminated zoster or postherpetic neuralgia .

If you still feel intense pain for more than 1 month after the skin heals, see your doctor to find out if you have PHN. Getting your pain under control right away may prevent nerve damage that may cause pain that lasts for months or years.

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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Vaccination Can Prevent A Painful Shingles Infection

Shingrix, the newest shingles vaccine, is more than 90 percent effective in preventing shingles, post herpetic neuralgia and other associated complications. It has proven to be more effective than the previously used single-dose vaccine which was only 51 percent effective. A physician order is required but the vaccine itself can be administered at most retail pharmacies.

The vaccine is a two-shot series, with the second shot being given two to six months after the first. Doctors recommend that all adults 50 years and older, without contraindications, receive the vaccine, even if they have had shingles and/or received the previous one-dose vaccine.

Those who are immunocompromised or expect to be immunocompromised for example, those starting long-term steroid treatment or cancer treatment or preparing for organ transplant should be vaccinated earlier ideally 19 years of age or older.

I Received The Chickenpox Vaccine Can I Still Get Shingles

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Chickenpox vaccine became widely available in the United States in 1995 and, since then, most children receive it as part of their routine vaccination schedule.

However, even vaccinated individuals can get chickenpox and subsequently shingles later in life due to waning immunity over time. In fact, research data actually shows that cases of shingles are increasing worldwide even though vaccination rates are also on the rise.

There are two possible reasons for this, says Dr. Kumar. First and foremost, people are living longer and as we age, our immune systems become less effective, leaving us more vulnerable to viral infections like shingles. Secondly, advances in immunosuppressant treatments for certain conditions are artificially suppressing the immune systems in people of all ages, also leaving them vulnerable, he adds.

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How Should You Treat Shingles

Antiviral medicines like acyclovir, valacyclovir, and famciclovir have been developed to reduce the length and severity of the illness. They are most effective when started soon after the shingles rash appears. Consequently, you should call your health care provider to explore treatment options as soon as you contract or believe you have contracted shingles.

Topical or oral pain medicines may help reduce the pain caused by shingles. Wet compresses, calamine lotion, and colloidal oatmeal baths may also help relieve itching.

How Is The Shingles Vaccine Made

The shingles vaccine available in the U.S., Shingrix®, contains a single protein from the surface of herpes zoster virus as well as two adjuvants: QS21 and monophosphoryl lipid A. QS21 is a soap-based molecule isolated from the bark of the Quillaja saponaria tree. Monophosphoryl lipid A is a detoxified form of lipopolysaccharide, a potent adjuvant taken from the surface of common bacteria.

The first shingles vaccine, called Zostavax®, is no longer available in the U.S. However, this version contained a more concentrated version of the same live, weakened virus as the current chickenpox vaccine. It contained about 14 times the amount of weakened chickenpox virus than the vaccine for children. This amount of virus was necessary to obtain a protective response in the aging immune systems of older adults. The introduction of Shingrix vaccine was important because adjuvants in the vaccine improved immune responses in older adults and decreased the need to use large quantities of the live, weakened virus also necessary to make chickenpox vaccine. For these two reasons Zostavax is no longer available in the U.S.

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What Are The Possible Side Effects Of Shingrix

Studies show that Shingrix is safe. The vaccine helps your body create a strong defense against shingles. As a result, you are likely to have temporary side effects from getting the shots. The side effects might affect your ability to do normal daily activities for 2 to 3 days.

Most people got a sore arm with mild or moderate pain after getting Shingrix, and some also had redness and swelling where they got the shot. Some people felt tired, had muscle pain, a headache, shivering, fever, stomach pain, or nausea. Some people who got Shingrix experienced side effects that prevented them from doing regular activities. Symptoms went away on their own in about 2 to 3 days. Side effects were more common in younger people.

You might have a reaction to the first or second dose of Shingrix, or both doses. If you experience side effects, you may choose to take over-the-counter pain medicine such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.

Guillain-Barré syndrome , a serious nervous system disorder, has been reported very rarely after Shingrix. There is also a very small increased risk of GBS after having shingles.

If you experience side effects from Shingrix, you should report them to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System . Your doctor might file this report, or you can do it yourself through the VAERS websiteexternal icon, or by calling 1-800-822-7967.

If you have any questions about side effects from Shingrix, talk with your doctor.

A Closer Look At The Safety Data

Shingles Rash Pictures, Symptoms, Vaccine Facts

Both Shingrix and Zostavax shingles vaccines have been shown to be safe and well tolerated. Common side effects, such as soreness and redness at the injection site, are usually mild to moderate in intensity and resolve quickly on their own.

Shingrix

In 8 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.
  • 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.

Zostavax

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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.

Who Is At Risk For Shingles Infection

Although it can occur at any age, shingles is more common in older adults and in people with compromised immune systems. In fact, those who are immunocompromised are 1-6 times more prone to infection and have a significantly higher risk of recurrence.

Even people with normal immune systems are at greater risk as they age. Because our immune systems tend to weaken as we get older, by age 50 many people previously infected with chickenpox will have lost the specific immunity they developed after the original infection. When this happens, the virus can wake up and trigger shingles. Some experts believe that chronic stress, some medications and certain health conditions may also trigger the virus to reactivate.

In addition, people who have had COVID-19 are at increased risk. In a recent study, researchers have found that patients over 50 with a history of COVID-19 infection have a 15 percent higher risk of getting shingles, says Dr. Kumar.

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Questions About A Disease Thats More Common As We Grow Older

1. What is shingles? Shingles is the name commonly used for the disease herpes zoster. It is caused by the varicella zoster virus , which is the same one that causes chicken pox. Even after a person recovers from chicken pox, the virus lies dormant in the body for years, only to become active later in life. Almost 33% of people in the U.S. will develop shingles during their lifetimeusually only once, but sometimes with repeat episodes.

2. What are the symptoms of shingles? The first signs can be vague and might resemble other routine illnesses. Patients might experience isolated itching, tingling, pain or numbness in one area of the body. They might have a headache, fever or upset stomach. But then the diagnosis becomes clear with the appearance of a distinctive, painful rash consisting of fluid-filled blisters.

3. How long do the symptoms last? For most people, shingles lesions only last for 10 days or so, and then scab over, healing within a couple of weeks. But if youre tempted to skip your vaccine and take your chances, its important to know that the effects of shingles might be long-term, and quite debilitating! Up to 18% of people with shingles will be unlucky enough to develop postherpetic neuralgia lasting pain that can be severe and disabling. Shingles also can cause vision loss by damaging the cornea, retina or nerves of the eye. In rare cases, it can cause hearing loss, brain inflammation and death.

Who Shouldnt Get The Shingles Vaccine

How Can You Prevent Shingles

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.

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What Does The Shingles Vaccine Do

The shingles vaccine can prevent shingles. Every year, about 1 million people in the United States get shingles. Anyone whos had chickenpox can get shingles. Thats because the varicella-zoster virus lives silently in your nervous system after you’ve had chickenpox. The virus can reactivate later in your life if your immune system is weakened. Your risk of getting shingles goes up as you get older. In the United States, 1 in 3 people will get shingles in their lifetime.

Is The Shingles Shot Covered By Medicare

Original Medicare does not pay for the shingles vaccine. However, if youre enrolled in a Medicare prescription drug plan or have a Medicare Advantage plan that includes drug coverage, your shot may be covered. For vaccines covered under Part D , it is not recommended to get the shot through your providers office, as you may have issues with Part D billing.*

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