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Why Should I Get The New Shingles Vaccine

Know Your Risk Of Getting Shingles And Complications

Who Should Get the New Shingles Vaccine?

About 1 out of every 3 people in the United States will develop shingles during their lifetime.

If youve had chickenpox, you are at risk for shingles. More than 99% of Americans born before 1980 have had chickenpox, even if they dont remember it.

Your risk of getting shingles and having serious complications increases as you get older.

About 1 in 10 people who get shingles develop nerve pain that lasts for months or years after the rash goes away. This is called postherpetic neuralgia and is the most common complication of shingles.

Shingles may lead to other serious complications involving the eye, including blindness. Very rarely, it can also lead to pneumonia, hearing problems, brain inflammation or death.

Cvs Pharmacy Now Offering New Shingles Vaccine At Locations Nationwide

More than 9,800 CVS Pharmacy locations have the Shingrix vaccine in stock for patients

WOONSOCKET, R.I., March 16, 2018 /PRNewswire/ CVS Pharmacy, the retail division of CVS Health , announced today that all of its more than 9,800 pharmacies have the new Shingrix vaccine available for patients.1 The new vaccine was licensed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2017 and is now recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .

Healthy adults age 50 and older are recommended to get two doses of Shingrix, two to six months apart, to prevent shingles and reduce the course and severity of the disease. The Shingrix vaccine is considered more than 90 percent effective at preventing shingles and protection stays above 85 percent for at least the first four years after a patient is vaccinated.

Ninety-nine percent of people ages 50 and older are at risk of getting shingles, a painful rash that is also known as herpes zoster, in their lifetime. There are an estimated one million cases of shingles each year in the U.S. It is recommended that patients who have had shingles, have previously received the Zostavax vaccine,2 or who are unsure if they have had chickenpox, receive the Shingrix vaccine. Anyone who has recovered from chickenpox may develop shingles, including children, although the risk of shingles increases as people age.

I Had Covid Almost Two Months Ago When Would I Need My Booster Shot

Infection following vaccination really boosts your immune response. Vaccinated people in that scenario have protection anywhere from four to six months, so a lot of immunologists will say you probably don’t want a boost while you’re protected. If you are vaccinated, four to six months after your infection is probably when a booster would give you the best effect in terms of not only strengthening your current immunity, but also giving you long-term immunity that will last for hopefully a year or even longer.

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The Problem With Medical Records Tracking Vaccine Schedules

Another obstacle is the fact that it can be difficult for family physicians to know exactly what vaccinations a patient has received. Unlike pediatric patients, who typically have accessible records of their vaccination schedule, it can be trickier for adults.

For adults, it becomes quite challenging, especially when they switch providers, because often times you have to track down records to find out if theyve been vaccinated, said Jain.

She said it can be complicated to try and decipher which vaccines patients have received and which ones they should get without clear records.

For adults over the age of 65, you want to find out if theyve gotten the two pneumonia vaccinations that are recommended, so it becomes a challenge to find out if theyve gotten both, or just one, she said.

Same thing goes now for the shingles vaccination. Youre kind of tracking down records, and when you dont have them, you have to make a clinical judgment.

Despite these challenges, Jain says the fact that Shingrix is a newly minted vaccination may make things a bit more straightforward.

The nice thing about Shingrix is that its so new, most patients have not gotten it, she said. Even if theyve had Zostavax, its recommended that they get Shingrix in addition to it, so thats a little bit less of a challenge with a new vaccination.

What Is The Brand Name Of The Shingles Vaccine

What Vaccines Do Older Adults Need

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:

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A Nasty Persistent Condition

Dr. Navjot Jain, an internal medicine specialist at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, says shingles is an offshoot of the chicken pox virus.

While many people have experienced chicken pox and therefore have the dormant virus, those who experienced chicken pox before they were 18-months old are considered to be at a higher risk .

Basically, shingles is the activation of the varicella zoster virus, which causes chicken pox, Jain told Healthline. Herpes zoster, which causes the vesicular rash associated with shingles, is a reactivation of the varicella zoster virus.

Even after the initial painful rash caused by shingles dies down, the aftereffects can be even worse.

The most common thing that we see after shingles is something called postherpetic neuralgia, which is nerve pain that can last for months, typically 90 days or more, and sometimes for several years, said Jain. Its excruciating pain at the site of where the patient would have previously had the shingles rash.

The agony of postherpetic neuralgia is often enough to convince patients to get vaccinated against shingles, says Jain.

Theres also the fact that a subtype of shingles, herpes zoster ophthalmicus, occurs in about 15 percent of shingles cases. In rare cases, says Jain, this can lead to vision loss.

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?

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New More Effective Shingles Vaccine Offers Greater Protection

A vaccine against shingles has been available for several years, but a new vaccine promises to offer greater protection and significantly limit the suffering from shingles. Approved by the Food and Drug Administration last October, the Shingrix vaccine provides a 90 percent protection rate for older adults, compared with 50 percent for the previously available Zostavax vaccine. And unlike its predecessor, Shingrix can safely be given to those with compromised immune systems.Close to one-in-three Americans will develop shingles, a rash of itchy blisters similar but more painful than chicken pox. Usually appearing in a swath on the side of the face or torso, shingles feels, as one sufferer described it, like being pressed against a cactus.

The old vaccine is a live vaccine, says Daniel Z. Uslan, MD, an infectious diseases physician and director of the UCLA Antimicrobial Stewardship Program. It makes your body immune by exposing it to a live but weakened shingles virus. The new vaccine is an inactivated recombinant vaccine, meaning there is no live virus in it. Its a much safer vaccine that we can use in patients with weaker immune systems. And those are the people who need the vaccine because theyre most likely to get shingles and have complications from shingles.

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Should You Get The New Shingles Vaccine

Recommendations for new Shingles vaccine

One out of every three Americans will develop shingles in their lifetime. The painful, blistery skin rash that appears on the chest is caused by the same virus thats responsible for chickenpox. So, if youve ever had chickenpox, youre at risk for shingles, which can last from two to four weeks.

The first shingles vaccine, Zostavax, was approved in 2006 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration , but a second newer drug is even more effective overall 90 percent versus 50 percent for Zostavax. Called Shingrix, the new vaccine became available in late 2017 and maintains its effectiveness in the age group most at-risk for developing the disease. For those age 70 or older, Shingrix is 91 percent effective.

A two-dose vaccine, Shingrix is administered eight weeks apart. The vaccine also contains an immune system booster and may reduce a form of chronic nerve pain commonly associated with shingles. A clinical trial showed that the vaccine maintains its effectiveness for up to four years.

The Centers for Disease Control and Preventions Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends Shingrix for Americans 50 and older. However, not all health plans cover the vaccines cost, so check with your insurance provider first.

If youre under age 60 and unsure of whether youve had chickenpox or if you were previously vaccinated with Zostavax talk to your doctor about whether you should get the Shingrix vaccine.

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Are We Seeing Any Changes In The Side Effects From The Bivalent Booster

No, everything’s the same as has been reported with the original bivalent booster. It’s important to note that the dose of this bivalent booster is exactly the same as the dose of the previous booster. It’s just that there are two different forms of the spike protein in the vaccine. All the reported side effects are essentially the same as with the boosters.

How Effective Is The Flu Vaccine

Flu vaccines are based on what experts learn from previous seasons, influenza patterns in other parts of the world and estimates of how the virus might change. On average, flu vaccines help reduce the number of people who get sick by 40 percent to 60 percent, said Emily Martin, an associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. That means that the vaccine can help prevent millions of influenza illnesses, as well as thousands of hospitalizations and deaths, per year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the flu causes roughly nine million to 40 million illnesses and 12,000 to 52,000 deaths annually.

In general, the vaccines tend to work better against illnesses caused by a strain of virus known as influenza B as well as by a subset of influenza A viruses, Dr. Martin said. The shots are less effective against a different subset of influenza A viruses that go by the scientific name H3N2. Thats because the H3N2 viruses mutate much faster and scientists predictions for how the vaccine can protect against these changes dont always match, Dr. Martin said.

Even if you do get sick after receiving a vaccine, the shot can reduce the severity of illness. That is really what we want to do: keep people out of hospitals, living normal lives, said Dr. H. Keipp Talbot, an associate professor of medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

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Is There A Downside To The Shingles Vaccine

Though the vaccine is deemed safe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration , there are certain conditions in which the vaccine may not be safe for you.

  • The shingles vaccine has only been tested in adults over age 50 years and immunocompromised adults above 18 years thus, there is no recommendation for the vaccine for younger ages by the FDA.
  • You should not get the vaccine if you have had a severe allergic reaction to a previous Shingrix dose.
  • You have tested negative for immunity to varicella-zoster virus .
  • You have an active shingles infection.

How Well Does Shingrix Work

Shingrix Second Dose Side Effects Worse

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.

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Where Can I Get A New Vaccine

You should be able to use the vaccine finder site vaccines.gov to find an updated vaccine near you. When you’re choosing your updated booster from either Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna, make sure to select the shot that says “Newly Authorized Bivalent” in bold text. Primary series vaccines, or the first two doses, are still available for people who haven’t received any vaccine yet.

Smaller doses of the original vaccines are also still available for kids as young as six months.

What Kinds Of Vaccines Does Cvs Offer

CVS Pharmacy offers a full list of vaccines. Among the most commonly requested ones are:

  • Influenza : The flu vaccine is offered on a seasonal basis. Two different kinds are available. Four-strain flu vaccine protects against four strains of the virus for children and adults. The high-dose or senior-dose flu vaccine is for people age 65 and older.

  • Shingles: The shingles vaccine is recommended for people age 50 and older. It is given in two doses spaced 2 to 6 months apart.

  • COVID-19: The long-awaited coronavirus vaccine is finally available to all adults age 16 and older starting April 19 and earlier in many places. A vaccine for younger teens and children is expected later this year.

  • Tdap: The CDC recommends the combination tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis vaccine for adolescents and adults every 10 years to protect against all three infections.

Each state has its own age requirements and other vaccine restrictions, so be sure to check your local stores rules before heading to CVS.

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So This Booster May Be The One That Will Protect Us For The Longest Time

As long as we don’t have another odd variant emerge from out of left field, which we never can never predict. But right now, everything looks fairly good in terms of omicron variants that are circulating. The omicron in the bivalent vaccine seems to be well matched to the majority of variants that are circulating right now.

Dont Panic If Youre Put On A Waiting List For The New Shingles Vaccine

New shingles vaccine – if you’re a boomer, you need to take it

Ann Dieffenbach got her first shot of the new shingles vaccine, Shingrix, at her CVS pharmacy in Bethesda on Feb. 25. Its a two-injection series, the second shot recommended two to six months after the first. But Dieffenbach, 63, hasnt yet been able to get that second shot: There has been no vaccine available.

She has called numerous stores, only to be told its on back order. In a few weeks, her six months will be up. Its been frustrating, says Dieffenbach, a retired National Institutes of Health communications director. I havent even been able to find a place that will put me on a waiting list.

Dieffenbach is not alone. Many people nationwide are between shots, unable to complete the series. Until recently, I was one of them. I got my first shot at a CVS in Northwest Washington at the end of April, then went back recently for the second only to be placed on a waiting list.

There is good news, though. The vaccine maker, GlaxoSmithKline, recently started shipments again, and the shortage has begun to ease.

The manufacturer blames the problem on extraordinarily high demand. It is not a manufacturing issue, says Sean Clements, a company spokesman. The demand for this vaccine has been unprecedented.

Still, the shortage raises questions for those who may be nervously watching the calendar: What happens if your six months elapse? Must you begin the shots all over again?

Payment questions aside, dont panic: More vaccine is on the way.

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Are You Concerned That Confusion About The New Booster Will Make It Harder For Us To Get People Vaccinated With It

Communication on this issue has to be very clear and careful. Much of the guidance is being left to individuals and medical providers to decide, and that is going to breed different responses from different people. And that breeds confusion and hesitancy.

I’m hopeful that over the next couple of weeks, we’re going to get clear guidance from the CDC about how to deal with boosters in these other contexts we’ve just describedpeople who’ve been infected, people who’ve been fully boosted, and how much time there should be before getting the bivalent booster. We need to get this guidance relatively soon, but again, we have to do the studies to get the data to make those firm recommendations.

Shingles Vaccine: Who Should Get It And When

Shingles is a common viral infection that affects approximately 1 in 3 adults in the United States. It can occur in people of any age who were infected with chickenpox at any time in their life. Usually a childhood disease, chickenpox typically presents with only mild symptoms which may include an itchy, blistering rash, fatigue and fever. Most children recover without incident or complications.

However, once you have had chickenpox, the virus doesnt go away. Instead, it lies dormant within the nervous system without causing any symptoms. If the virus is reactivated, years or decades later, the resulting painful, blistery rash is called shingles.

Read Also: How Do You Know If Its Shingles

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