Who Should Get Shingles Vaccine?

Shingles vaccine
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Health experts are recommending everyone to get the shingles vaccine but somehow there is huge confusion on who should and who shouldn’t get this vaccine. Typically, there are two options available to people; one is “Shingrix” which was approved by FDA in 2017 and the other is Zostavax approved by FDA in 2006.

Both of these vaccines work well on all everyone but they are exceptionally helpful to control shingles in older adults. It doesn’t matter if they have caught shingles at some point in their life or not, this vaccine is mandatory for everyone.

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It is also possible for people to get shingles even if they are vaccinated. If a person has got shingles, getting its vaccine is still needed. In addition to this, for those who have got the Zostavax vaccine previously or chickenpox, the new shingles vaccine ‘Shingrix’ becomes compulsory.

The older vaccine, Zostavax was a type of live vaccine which was given with a single injection in the upper part of the arm. The latest vaccine, Shingrix doesn’t use the live vaccine but an attenuated pathogen and it has two doses that are injected a few months apart. Some people may experience side effects such as pain, soreness, swelling, itching, and burning at the injection spot.

It is also possible for some people to experience a rash on the site of the injection after getting this vaccine.

Although the purpose of this vaccine is to save people from shingles some of them can still get the infection despite this vaccination. In these people, the duration, symptoms, and severity of the infection are reduced as compared to other, non-vaccinated people.

People from the following categories have to be extra careful while getting a shingles vaccine and discuss their condition with a doctor before opting for the vaccine.

  • Those who are allergic to gelatin.
  • People who are allergic to neomycin (an antibiotic)
  • People with weak immunity
  • HIV/AIDS patients
  • Those who are prescribed with immune-suppressing medicines
  • Cancer patients especially bone marrow cancer, leukemia, lymphoma, etc.
  • Pregnant women

Getting the Zostavax vaccine can provide protection that may last up to five years. Although this vaccine is specifically designed and approved for adults over 50 years of age. In fact, the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that it should be given to a patient of at least 60 years of age. At this age, the chance of shingles and other related conditions such as postherpetic neuralgia (PHN) are the highest and most deadly.

Zostavax is no more available in the US but it is available and being used in many other countries.

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The Shingles vaccine is not covered by the common health insurance programs in the US i.e. Medicare and Medicaid. In case you have questions, contact your insurance company and get the details on vaccination covering.

There are no serious side effects of Shingrix. Still, some people can get adverse effects after getting this vaccination such as an allergic reaction. These side effects may show up right after getting the vaccine or hours later. In case a person experiences anything unusual, he should get medical help right away.


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