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Why Should I Get A Shingles Shot

How Is Shingles Spread

Shingles vaccine: Should I get it?

You do not âcatchâ shingles it comes on when thereâs a reawakening of chickenpox virus thatâs 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. Itâs estimated that around 1 in 5 people who have had chickenpox go on to develop shingles.

Read more about the causes of shingles.

How Well Does Shingrix Work

Two doses of Shingrix provide strong protection against shingles and postherpetic neuralgia , the most common complication of shingles.

  • In adults 50 to 69 years old with healthy immune systems, Shingrix was 97% effective in preventing shingles in adults 70 years and older, Shingrix was 91% effective.
  • In adults 50 years and older, Shingrix was 91% effective in preventing PHN in adults 70 years and older, Shingrix was 89% effective.
  • In adults with weakened immune systems, Shingrix was between 68% and 91% effective in preventing shingles, depending on their underlying immunocompromising condition.

In people 70 years and older who had healthy immune systems, Shingrix immunity remained high throughout 7 years following vaccination.

How To Pay For Shingrix

Commercial insurance covers about 96% of insured people for the Shingrix vaccine. Most people with private insurance will pay under $5 for each dose.

Programs like Medicaid cover Shingrix in certain states. Medicare Parts A and B do not cover the shingles vaccine. But individuals covered under Medicare prescription drug plans, or Part D, will have their vaccines covered.

For people who do not have access to insurance, there are a number of vaccine assistance programs and affordable health coverage options available. Many of these programs provide vaccines at little or no cost.

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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 .

What Vaccines Can Help Prevent Shingles

Shingles

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.

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New Shingles Vaccine: What You Need To Know

Nov. 13, 2019 â Unlike some vaccines, thereâs been so much demand for the new shingles vaccineShingrix that itâs not always easy to find. It was approved in 2017, and the CDC recommends the vaccine for adults 50 and older to prevent this painful, blistering illness. It is being used in place of the previous vaccine, Zostavax.

More than a year later, doctors say they are learning more about how it works, its safety risks, and how it compares to Zostavax.

How effective is Shingrix?

âItâs just remarkable,â says Wilbur Chen, MD, an associate professor of medicine at the Center for Vaccine Development and Global Health, University of Maryland School of Medicine. âIt has performed better than I expected.â

In studies, Shingrix was more than 97% effective at preventing shingles in people 50 and older. It works just as well in older adults, who are at greater risk for a painful shingles complication called postherpetic neuralgia . âWhen 70- and 80-year-olds get shingles, it can be extremely debilitating,â Chen says.

By contrast, Zostavax cuts the risk of shingles by only 51% and PHN by 67%. Itâs only about 38% effective in people over age 70.

How safe is Shingrix?

âSo far so good,â Schaffner says. The main side effect is soreness in the arm where you get the shot.

Other side effects are mild and usually last for 2 to 3 days, including:

Who shouldnât get Shingrix?

Can I get the Shingrix vaccine now?

What do doctors still need to learn about Shingrix?

When Should I Get The Second Dose

The CDC recommends that adults ages 50 and older get a second dose of Shingrix two to six months after their first dose. If youve waited longer than six months since your first dose of Shingrix, its safe to get a second dose right away. Most people dont need to repeat the first dose.

Some immunocompromised adults may need a second dose within one to two months. If you have a disease or are taking medication that affects your immune system, talk to your healthcare provider about the best timeline for your two doses of the shingles vaccine.

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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.

Will There Be Any Side Effects From The Shingles Vaccination

What You Should Know About Shingles Vaccines | Johns Hopkins Medicine

There are 2 shingles vaccines: Zostavax and Shingrix .

With both vaccines it’s quite common to get redness and discomfort at the vaccination site, headaches and fatigue, but these side effects should not last more than a few days. See a GP if you have side effects that last longer than a few days, or if you develop a rash after having the shingles vaccination.

Read more about the shingles vaccine side effects.

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Considerations For Patients Who Previously Received Zostavax

Studies have not examined the safety and immunogenicity of Shingrix administered less than 5 years following Zostavax vaccination. However, there are no data or theoretical concerns to indicate that Shingrix would be less safe or less effective when given at an interval shorter than 5 years following Zostavax. Since the risk of herpes zoster increases with age, providers should weigh a patients risk of herpes zoster with the age-specific protection expected from Zostavax to determine when to vaccinate with Shingrix.

When To See A Healthcare Provider

For most people, the effects of Shingrix are mild and short-term. In very rare cases, Shingrix can cause more serious side effects.

Seek urgent medical care if you experience signs of a severe allergic reaction a few minutes or hours after your second dose of Shingrix, such as:

  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Facial swelling
  • Swelling in the throat or mouth

You should also let your healthcare provider know if your Shingrix side effects are severe or arent going away on their own.

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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.

What To Know About The Shingles Vaccine

Reactions to the Shingles Vaccine

Who needs it? The CDC recommends that everyone 50 and older get Shingrix, even if they had the earlier recommended vaccine Zostavax, or if theyve already had a bout of shingles. Older adults should also get this vaccine, whether or not they remember having had chickenpox as a child. Why? More than 99 percent of Americans over the age of 40 have been exposed to the varicella-zoster virus, even if they dont recall getting chickenpox.

How often? The CDC recommends that older adults, as described above, get this vaccine, which is given in two doses spaced two to six months apart. But it remains to be seen if the agency will recommend that older adults get it again, say, after its effectiveness starts to wane four years after their first inoculation.

Why you need it: 1 in 3 people will get painful, occasionally debilitating shingles, usually after age 50, and the risk increases with age. By age 85, half of adults will have experienced at least one outbreak.

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What Are The Advantages Of Getting The Shingles Vaccine

The shingles vaccine reduces your risk of getting shingles. Shingles causes a painful rash that usually develops on one side of your body or face. Some people describe the pain as an intense burning or shooting sensation. The rash is often a single strip that wraps around one side of your body or is on one side of your face. It consists of blisters that normally crust over in seven to 10 days. The rash generally clears up within a month.

Some people with shingles also experience additional symptoms including fever, headache, chills or upset stomach.

For some people, the pain from the rash can last for months or even years after the rash goes away. This long-term pain is called postherpetic neuralgia , and it is the most common complication of shingles.

How Well Does The Vaccine Work

The vaccine lowers your chances of getting shingles.

If you get the vaccine and still get shingles, you are likely to have much less pain and for a much shorter time.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends two doses of the shingles vaccine for adults ages 50 and older and for adults 19 and older who have a weakened immune system.footnote 1

  • Redness, swelling, or soreness at the spot where the needle went in.
  • A high fever or serious allergic reaction .

Getting the vaccine has some risks. For example:

  • You might get shingles anyway. But it probably won’t be as painful or last as long.
  • You may need another vaccine later in life.

You shouldn’t get the vaccine if:

  • You are ill with more than a mild cold or you have had an allergic reaction to the first dose.
  • You have a test that says you have never had chickenpox.
  • You have shingles.
  • You are age 50 or older.
  • You are 19 or older and have a weakened immune system.
  • You have had shingles before.
  • You have a chronic condition, such as chronic kidney failure, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, or COPD.
  • You live in a nursing home or other long-term care facility.
  • The vaccine can lower your chances of getting shingles.
  • If you get the vaccine and still get shingles, you are likely to have less pain for a shorter time.

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What Else To Know About The Shingles Vaccine

Ready to get vaccinated? This is the essential info on how the shots are given, what to expect with side effects, and more.

You need two doses of Shingrix to get full protection from shingles. You should get your second dose 2 to 6 months after the first. Your doctor or pharmacist will inject the vaccine into the muscle of your upper arm, so wear clothes that give easy access to that area.

If it has been more than 6 months since you got your first dose, go ahead and get your second dose. You donât need to start over, Dooling says.

Because Shingrix is so new, experts arenât sure whether youâll eventually need another shot, or a booster, years down the road.

âThe CDC is actively following how protected people remain after the two-dose series,â she says. We know that after 4 years, protection remains above 85%. Only time will tell how durable that protection is.â

You do not have to wait between Shingrix and COVID-19 vaccination. The CDC has determined its safe to get the COVID-19 vaccine at the same time as Shingrex, but recommends they be given in different arms. You should not get eithe vaccine if you have COVID.

Side effects are fairly common. You may have heard that people sometimes have unpleasant side effects soon after they get the shingles vaccine.

âShingrix tends to have has more side effects than some vaccines, like those for the seasonal flu,â says Kistler. The shingles vaccine may cause:

What Are Your Chances Of Getting Shingles

Who Should Get the New Shingles Vaccine?

Only people who have had chickenpox can get shingles.

Out of 100 people, about 30 may get shingles sometime in their lives.footnote 2 And the risk is higher for people age 50 and older. Older people are also more likely to have severe pain with shingles.

Most people who get shingles will not get it again. But some people get shingles more than once.

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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.

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.

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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:

What Are The Possible Side Effects Of Shingles Immunisation

Do you suffer from Postherpetic Neuralgia after having Shingles ...

All medicines and vaccines can have side effects. Sometimes they are serious, most of the time theyre not.

For most people, the chance of having a serious side effect from a vaccine is much lower than the chance of serious harm if you caught the disease.

Talk to your doctor about possible side effects of shingles vaccines, or if you have possible side effects that worry you.

Common side effects of shingles vaccines include:

  • pain, redness, swelling or itching where the needle went in

Serious reactions to immunisation are rare. With Zostavax® vaccination, very rarely a generalised chickenpox-like rash may occur around 24 weeks after vaccination. This may be associated with fever and feeling unwell. This rash may be a sign of a serious reaction to the virus in the vaccine. Seek medical attention and inform of recent Zostavax vaccination if you experience this reaction.

The Consumer Medicine Information links in How do you get immunised against shingles? list the side effects of each vaccine.

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