Shingles Vaccine: What You Need to Know

According to a CDC "vaccine statement" a shingles vaccine was licensed in 2006, and in clinical trials it prevented shingles in 50% of people 60 years or older. In addition, the vaccine reduces the pain associated with the disease.

Shingles occurs only in someone who has had a case of chickenpox, or has had the chickenpox vaccine. The virus stays in one’s body and can reappear much later, causing the shingles outbreak. 

The main symptom is a painful rash, often with blisters. Other symptoms include fever, headache, upset stomach and chills.

 So what should one know in evaluating whether or not to get this vaccine?

First, no-one should get the vaccine if they have HIV /AIDS or another disease that affects the immune systom. Nor should they get the vaccine if they are under treatment with drugs, such as steriods, that affect the immune system. Nor should anyone under cancer treatment with radiation or chemotherapy, or any bone marrow disease (such as leukemia or lymphoma). Tuberculosis and pregnancy are other contraindications for the vaccine.

Then the choice is between you and your health care provider. According to the CDC "no serious problems have been identified with shingles vaccines."

For more information, contact your physician, local or state health department, or the CDC at

SOURCE: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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