A New Shingles Vaccine is Available

Posted on April 13, 2018 12:42 pm CDT

Shingrix is the new shingles vaccine. The CDC prefers the use of Shingrix over Zostavax. Shingrix is administered in two doses, 2-6 months apart. Healthy adults ages 50 and older should be immunized. Shingrix is NOT a live vaccine, so it can be used in a wider range of patients. Shingrix has been shown to be more than 90% effective at protecting against shingles and related complications such as postherpetic neuralgia (PHN), when both doses are given. In adults 50 to 69 years old who received two doses, Shingrix was 97% effective in preventing shingles and 91% effective in preventing postherpetic neuralgia. In adults 70 years and older who received two doses, Shingrix was 91% effective in preventing shingles and 89% effective in preventing postherpetic neuralgia. At least 85% coverage has been shown even 4 years after the initial vaccination series. Patients should receive Shingrix even if they have had shingles, previously received the Zostavax vaccine, or if one’s chickenpox status is unknown. Patients should wait 8 weeks if he/she has recently had Zostavax, before receiving Shingrix. There is no maximum age for the vaccination as the risk of shingles and postherpetic neuralgia increases with age. Patients who should not receive Shingrix are those who are allergic to Shingrix, who are or might be pregnant or are breastfeeding, currently have shingles, have weakened immune systems due to certain causes, or have tested negative for immunity to varicella zoster. Shingrix is not used for prevention of chickenpox. If a patient has a minor illness with a temperature less than 101.3 F, he/she may receive the vaccination. If a patient has a moderate-severe illness or has a temperature of 101.3 F or higher, he/she should wait until they have recovered before receiving the immunization. Side effects in studies lasted 2-3 days on average and included, a sore arm with mild-moderate pain, redness and swelling at the injection site, feeling tired, muscle pain, headache, shivering, fever, stomach pain, and nausea. Signs of a severe allergic reaction may include hives, swelling of the face and throat, difficulty breathing, rapid heartbeat, dizziness, and weakness. For more information on the new shingles vaccine, Shingrix, and to get yours, contact our pharmacists today!

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