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Who Should Get The Shingles Vaccine Canada

Vaccines For Adults 60 Years Of Age And Older

What You Should Know About Shingles Vaccines | Johns Hopkins Medicine

Some vaccine preventable disease are more common with age, as our immune system may not respond as well as we get older. This puts us at a greater risk for certain diseases, including:

  • pneumococcal disease

The flu is more likely to cause severe illness and even death in older adults.

It’s also important to make sure routine vaccines are up to date for diseases such as:

Why Getting The New Shingles Vaccine Is A Good Idea

Longer-lasting, more effective Shingrix vaccine recommended for most Canadians over 50, says U of A pharmacist.

May 14, 2018 By Bev Betkowski

It’s a good idea for most Canadians 50 and older to get the newest vaccine to prevent shingles-even if they’ve already had Zostavax, the only previously available option, says a University of Alberta pharmacist.

People who’ve received Zostavax to avoid the misery of shingles may have noticed the arrival of Shingrix, a new vaccine that became available in Canada at the beginning of 2018. Experts hail it as lasting longer and being more than 90 per cent effective in preventing the disease, which comes with a painful, blistering rash caused by the same virus that results in chickenpox. By comparison, Zostavax is only 50 per cent effective on average, said Christine Hughes, a professor in the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

It may leave some wondering if it’s safe to double up on shingles vaccines by getting the Shingrix immunization but the good news is, they can, she said.

“For people who are worried, it’s not thought to have any associated problems. The effectiveness of Zostavax tends to decrease within five years of receiving the immunization, so it makes sense to consider getting Shingrix for long-term protection.”

How Is Shingles Spread

You cannot get shingles from someone with shingles. However, if you have never had chickenpox or the chickenpox vaccine, you can get chickenpox by being in direct contact with shingle blisters. Shingles is not spread by sneezing or coughing. Once the blisters crust over the person can no longer spread the virus.

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How Do You Get The Shingles Vaccine

So here is the million-dollar question, “How do I get the shingles vaccine?” If you’re looking to get this vaccine, you can start by asking your primary health care provider. A doctor or nurse practitioner can administer the shingles vaccine.

Persons who can get the publicly funded Shingrix vaccine can get it through their doctor. People who aren’t eligible for it should seek to buy it privately. If you need to buy it privately, your doctor will need to give you a prescription for it.

Most pharmacies and travel clinics sell the shingles vaccine. If there is a doctor or nurse at the travel clinic, they will administer the shot. The staff at most pharmacies in Canada can vaccinate customers.

It’s always a good idea to contact your health insurance provider if you’re not sure if it covers the cost of the shingles vaccine. The company will be more than happy to inform you if your insurance plan covers the cost of this vaccine.

Who Should Not Get The Vaccine

Shingles Awareness: Sample Social Media Posts and Graphics  National ...
  • People who are less than 50 years of age. The shingles vaccine has only been approved for people 50 years of age and over.
  • Those who have had shingles in the past year.
  • Individuals with a history of HZO see an ophthalmologist to assess risks and benefits.
  • Those who have had an allergic reaction to any component found in the vaccine.
  • Those who may be pregnant, or are trying to become pregnant. Women should delay pregnancy for one month after receiving the shingles vaccine
  • Individuals who have received immunoglobulin in the last 3 months.
  • Those who have recently received another live vaccine .
  • People with any type of illness that weakens the immune system, including cancers , HIV and transplant recipients.
  • Those with active untreated tuberculosis.
  • People taking medication that weakens the immune system, including high dose steroids.
  • Individuals undergoing tuberculin skin testing as it can result in false negative results. The shingles vaccine can be administered any time after skin testing has been performed and/or read.
  • Those on an antiviral therapy you should discontinue these drugs, if possible, at least 24 hours before administration of the vaccine and should not restart antiviral therapy until 14 days after vaccination.
  • Individuals with moderate or severe acute illness with or without fever.

Also Check: How Is The Shingles Virus Spread

Why Not Get The Vaccine

Shingrix is a marked improvement over its predecessor, more than 90 percent effective in preventing against the shingles virus.

Health professionals, from family doctors to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , that most people over the age of 50 get vaccinated.

Yet only about a third of people over the age of 60 got the vaccination in 2016.

So whats stopping people?

One issue might be cost for people who arent sure whether their insurance will cover the immunization.

Shingrix costs about $280 for both shots and Medicare Part D, which some people 65 and over have, will cover that cost, said Carandang. But individually its best to talk to your insurance company.

Carandang also points out that even for those with a high deductible plan, some providers will still cover the cost of the shots for the sake of health maintenance.

Jain adds that more insurers are covering the cost of Shingrix, even for patients whove already been vaccinated with Zostavax, simply because the new vaccination is so much more effective.

Another reason some people may be hesitant about getting vaccinated stems from the side effects of getting these shots.

The side effects of getting the Shingrix vaccine can include muscle aches, fatigue, and headaches, said Carandang. These are common and they can happen with pretty much any vaccine.

While the pain from getting injected may be a deterrent, the potential pain that could come with a shingles infection can be worse.

Who Shouldn’t Get It

A person should not get Shingrix if:

  • They have ever had a severe allergic reaction to any component of the vaccine or the first dose of the vaccine.
  • They test negative for immunity to varicella-zoster virus.
  • They currently have shingles.
  • They are pregnant.

If you are experiencing a moderate to severe illness, with a fever or not, you should consider waiting until you are better before getting the vaccine.

Read Also: What To Put On Shingles Rash

What Are The Shingles Vaccines

There are 2 vaccines, Shingrix® and Zostavax® II, that protect against shingles. Shingles is caused by the varicella zoster virus, which also causes chickenpox. Zostavax® II contains a weakened form of the virus while Shingrix® contains only a part of the virus. The vaccines are approved by Health Canada.

Shingrix Shingles Vaccine For 2022

Yes, you can get the shingles vaccine after getting your COVID vaccine

GlaxoSmithKline plc Shingrix is a non-live, adjuvanted recombinant shingles vaccine consisting of the varicella-zoster virus glycoprotein E antigen and the AS01B adjuvant system, a proprietary adjuvant containing QS-21 and MPL with liposomes. Shingrix has been up to 90% effective in various clinical trials, says GSK. Shingrix has been commercially available since 2017.

Shingles, also known as herpes zoster , is a painful skin rash caused by reactivation of the varicella-zoster virus, which causes chickenpox, says the U.S. CDC. In addition, Shingrix works to boost human immune systems as people age, which increases the risk for shingles.

On February 25, 2021, U.S. CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices Herpes Zoster Work Group presented the results of a comprehensive risk-benefit analysis of Shingrix that included a review of post-marketing data. The analysis of clinical trials, observational studies, and risk-benefit analysis confirm the considerable benefits of RZV vaccination in preventing HZ, severe disease, and complications. And the National Institute on Aging says ‘the shingles vaccine is safe and easy, and it may keep people from getting shingles and ongoing pain called postherpetic neuralgia.

London, England-based GlaxoSmithKline is the producer of Shingrix. GSK’s top priority is patient safety.

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Shingrix Vaccine Efficacy And Duration Of Protection

Among immunocompetent adults 50 years and older, the efficacy of two doses of Shingrix for the prevention of herpes zoster was high among all age groups. In a clinical trial of more than 30,000 participants, vaccine efficacy was 96.6% in adults aged 50 to 59 years, 97.4% in adults aged 60 to 69 years, and 91.3% in adults aged 70 years and older.

The efficacy of two doses of Shingrix for the prevention of postherpetic neuralgia was high: 91.2% in adults aged 50 years and older, and 88.8% in adults aged 70 years and older.

Vaccine efficacy was estimated among several immunocompromised groups:

  • 68.2% among adult autologous hematopoietic cell transplant recipients.
  • 87.2% in a post hoc efficacy analysis of adult patients with hematologic malignancies.
  • 90.5% in a post hoc efficacy analysis of adult patients with immune-mediated diseases who were not taking immunosuppressive medication.

In immunocompetent adults 70 years and older, vaccine efficacy remained high, at or above 84% in all 7 years after vaccination.

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.

Also Check: Is Shingles Shot Covered By Medicare

Know Your Shingles Risk

You can get shingles at any age if youve had chickenpox.

But older adults and those who are immunocompromised get it most often. Two-thirds of shingles cases in Canada happen to people over 50 years old. The severity of shingles and its complications also increase with age.

Age is the most important risk factor.

What Everyone Should Know About The Shingles Vaccine

Shingles Awareness: Sample Social Media Posts and Graphics  National ...

Shingles vaccination is the only way to protect against shingles and postherpetic neuralgia , the most common complication from shingles.

CDC recommends that adults 50 years and older get two doses of the shingles vaccine called Shingrix to prevent shingles and the complications from the disease. Adults 19 years and older who have weakened immune systems because of disease or therapy should also get two doses of Shingrix, as they have a higher risk of getting shingles and related complications.

Your doctor or pharmacist can give you Shingrix as a shot in your upper arm.

Shingrix provides strong protection against shingles and PHN. In adults 50 years and older who have healthy immune systems, Shingrix is more than 90% effective at preventing shingles and PHN. Immunity stays strong for at least the first 7 years after vaccination. In adults with weakened immune systems, studies show that Shingrix is 68%-91% effective in preventing shingles, depending on the condition that affects the immune system.

Also Check: How Long Will It Take For Shingles To Go Away

Vaccine Effectiveness And Safety

The vaccine reduces your chance of getting the virus by more than 50%, depending on your age. Vaccine effectiveness is higher among seniors between 65 and 70 years old.

No vaccine is 100% effective. If you get vaccinated, you may still develop shingles. But the infection would likely be less severe and youd be better protected from complications.

The vaccine has been licenced by Health Canada, having met all requirements under the Food and Drugs Act.

Experts Question Timing Of Vaccination Against Shingles

Merck Canadas advertising campaign that pitches its vaccine against shingles to people aged 50 and over is running afoul of vaccinologists, who caution it might be better administered at age 60.

We know for sure that protection lasts about five years, but if we vaccinate early, theres a chance that people may not still be protected by the time they are at highest risk of getting shingles, says Dr. Shelly McNeil, a clinician scientist at the Canadian Center for Vaccinology in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

In national television and magazine ads, Merck has been urging people aged 50 and over to get protected against herpes zoster by being vaccinated with Zostavax. It is estimated that nearly one in 3 people will experience shingles in their lifetime. And that risk increases after the age of 50. Will you be the one? Mercks advertising campaign asks.

But Zostavaxs protection against shingles is not indefinite. Merck began a 10-year effectiveness study in 2008, so it does not yet know if protection from a single dose of the vaccine lasts beyond seven years, says Sheila Murphy, a spokesperson for Merck.

If you get the vaccine youll be protected, says Dr. Deepali Kumar, an associate professor of medicine in transplant infectious diseases at the University of Alberta and a member of the National Advisory Committee on Immunization . But whether youll need another booster 10 years later is not known.

There is no reason not to publicly fund Zostavax, says McNeil.

Read Also: What Does Shingles On The Neck Look Like

What Is The Brand Name Of The Shingles Vaccine

There are 2 shingles vaccines used in the UK:

  • Zostavax, a live vaccine given as 1 dose
  • Shingrix, a non-live vaccine given as 2 doses, 2 months apart

Most people will have the Zostavax vaccine. The Shingrix vaccine is recommended if Zostavax is not suitable for you, for example if you have a condition that affects your immune system.

You can read more about the shingles vaccines in the patient information leaflets:

Shingles Vaccine And Insurance

New CDC guidelines for shingles and pneumonia vaccines

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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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.

How Does The Shingles Vaccine Work

The vaccine recommended for most people is a live vaccine called Zostavax. It contains a weakened chickenpox virus . It’s similar, but not identical, to the chickenpox vaccine.

People with a weakened immune system cannot have live vaccines. They will be offered a non-live vaccine called Shingrix. It activates the immune system but also contains an ingredient called an adjuvant, which helps to boost the response to the vaccine.

Very occasionally, people develop chickenpox following shingles vaccination . Talk to a GP if this happens to you.

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Shingrix Approved In Canada For Adults At Increased Risk Of Shingles Due To Immunodeficiency Or Immunosuppression

Mississauga, ON GlaxoSmithKline Inc. today announced that SHINGRIX has been approved in Canada for the prevention of shingles in adults aged 18 years and older who are or who will be at increased risk of shingles due to immunodeficiency or immunosuppression caused by known disease or therapy. Immunocompromised individuals are at greater risk of shingles and associated complications than immunocompetent individuals. This indication expansion marks an important step towards increasing access to a shingles vaccine for Canadians with diverse risk factors that put them at increased risk of shingles.

Older age and being immunocompromised are the most common risk factors for shingles disease, said Marni Freeman, Country Medical Director, GSK. GSK is proud to offer SHINGRIX for the prevention of shingles to this important patient population at increased risk for shingles and its complications by bringing them a vaccine option that can help prevent this painful condition.

About Shingles

Shingles is caused by varicella zoster virus , the same virus that causes chickenpox. Shingles typically presents as a rash, with painful blisters across the chest, abdomen, or face. The pain is often described as aching, burning, stabbing or shock-like. Following the rash, a person can also experience post-herpetic neuralgia , pain that can last for months or years. PHN is the most common complication of shingles, occurring in up to 30 percent of all shingles cases.


About GSK

What Are The Risks Of Shingles

Impact of a publicly funded herpes zoster immunization program on the ...

About one in five people who get shingles will have severe pain after the rash goes away. This pain can last months or even years. This pain is known as post-herpetic neuralgia.

Rare complications of shingles include scarring, pneumonia, loss of hearing or vision, swelling of the brain and bacterial superinfections of the rash.

Read Also: What Do Shingles Look Like When They First Start Out

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