Question: I’ve had some friends who have suffered terribly from shingles. I see there is now a vaccine for it. Is it worth getting?
Dr. Hibberd’s answer:
Adults age 60 and older should get the shingles vaccine (Zostavax), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Although the vaccine is also approved for use in people ages 50 to 59 years, the CDC recommendation for the shingles vaccine is only once you reach the age of 60.
Some people develop shingles despite the vaccination. Even when it fails to suppress the virus completely, the shingles vaccine may reduce the severity and duration of shingles.
The vaccine is not given if you have had a life-threatening allergic reaction to gelatin, the antibiotic neomycin or any other component of the shingles vaccine, have a weakened immune system due to HIV/AIDS, lymphoma or leukemia.
It’s also not advised if you are receiving immune system-suppressing drugs, such as steroids, adalimumab (Humira), infliximab (Remicade), etanercept (Enbrel), radiation or chemotherapy, or have active, untreated tuberculosis, are pregnant or trying to become pregnant.
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