What is the shingles vaccine?
Currently, Shingrix is the only vaccine approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to prevent shingles. The shingles vaccine is recommended for people ages 50 and older, as well as anyone at least 19 years old as long as they are not immuno-compromised.
The shingles vaccine has been shown to reduce the risk of getting shingles by 97 percent and those who contract shingles may have a milder, shorter illness.
How long does it last?
Shingrix provides strong protection against shingles, but studies show that the body’s immunity may decline over time. The duration of Shingrix’ effectiveness has not been studied in children under 18 years of age. People who receive Shingrix should still get vaccinated against shingles if they are 70 years old or older.
Where can you get it?
Shingrix is available at most pharmacies, doctor’s offices and clinics throughout the country but can also be administered through pharmacies that offer flu vaccinations as well as health departments in select states.
Shingrix is given as a two-dose series, with the second shot administered two to six months after the first injection.
However, if you have a severe allergy to any ingredients that might be included in the shots then it’s best not to visit your pharmacy since they may not know what is being used as an ingredient within their own products. Every person should discuss with their physician where they would feel most comfortable receiving shingles vaccinations.
How effective is the Shingrix vaccine?
Shingrix is very effective and has been proven to have a high success rate in preventing shingles symptoms from developing if someone already has the shingle virus inside them.
The shingles vaccine is 97% effective, which means that if 100 people who have received the shingles vaccine are exposed to shingles, only three of them would contract shingles.
Although Shingrix protection declines over time, but the vaccine continues to be effective for at least four years.
Unfortunately, not everyone responds well enough within six weeks to get shingles vaccines . People who end up contracting shingles after receiving shingle vaccinations may still need additional treatment such as antiviral medications to treat their condition.
Currently there are no studies that show Shingrix helps prevent postherpetic neuralgia (PHN), a shingles-related complication characterized by severe pain along the nerve pathways. However, shingles patients who receive the shingles vaccine are less likely to suffer from PHN than those who do not get vaccinated.
What is Zostavax
Zostavax is the shingles vaccine currently available on the market. It was approved by FDA in 2006 and has been shown to be effective at reducing shingles symptoms, but it’s not as strong of a shingles vaccine compared to Shingrix since Zostavax does not provide immunity for that long .
Is Zostavax still available in the US?
Zostavax shingles vaccine is no longer available in the United States as of November 2020. However, shingles patients who have already received Zostavax may still be able to get the shingle vaccine through their doctor until supplies of both vaccines are depleted.
How long does the shingles vaccine last?
The shingles vaccine is administered in two doses, which can prevent shingles for at least twenty years. It’s important to talk with your doctor about what works best for you based on your age and health status. At some point every ten years or so, a booster may be given depending on certain factors . This will help keep shingles from coming back again after the first signs of shingling s have subsided .
Who shouldn’t get the shingles vaccine
People who should not get shingles vaccines include those that are allergic to any of its components and anyone who has had an adverse reaction from previous vaccinations. People with the following conditions are advised against getting the shingles vaccine:
- People with shingles
- Weakened immune system
- Individuals who have received blood transfusions within the last three months
- Pregnant women
- Breastfeeding mothers
- Those receiving cancer treatment
People with shingles should not get the shingles vaccine until their pain has ended and they are no longer infectious to others. Anyone who is unsure if they have shingles or not, it’s best to contact your doctor instead of getting vaccinated as that can increase risk for shingles in those that already had shingles.
Potential side effects
Some common mild side effects include redness or pain around the injection site which usually go away within twenty- four hours if shingle s vaccine . However, some people may experience more serious side effects such as dizziness, fainting and nausea. If you feel sick after receiving shingles vaccines , it’s best to contact your physician immediately so they can help manage any problems that arise from shingle vaccinations.
When should I see the doctor if I experience side effects?
If shingle s vaccine side effects last more than a day and do not improve, it’s best to contact your doctor as soon as possible. Also if you experience any of the following:
- Severe symptoms of hives or itching
- Trouble breathing
- Facial swelling
- Pain in the chest area that worsens upon deep breaths
- Rapid heart rate
What else do I need to know about getting the shingles vaccine?
For patients over 65 , it’s possible to use a combination of both shingles and pneumonia vaccines together since these two illnesses are usually associated with each other. Talk this option over with your physician because shingle s vaccine may not be right for you if shingles is already present in your body.