First let me start with an apology, “I’m sorry”! For years we in the pharmacy have told you that you only needed 1 shingles vaccine in your lifetime, Zostavax. That just changed, there is now a new vaccine to prevent shingles, Shingrix. The Shingrix vaccine is a far superior product that provides much greater protection against the painful condition shingles. Shingrix does such a great job preventing shingles that the recommendations are that even those patients that have already received the Zostavax vaccine should still get the Shingrix vaccine.
There are a couple of differences between the older vaccine, Zostavax, and the new vaccine, Shingrix.
- Is a live vaccine, this means the vaccine is not appropriate for some patients, those with weakened immune systems for example.
- Recommended by the Immunization Action Coalition for patients over age 60.
- Only a single immunization needed.
- Coverage is around 50-66%, depending upon what age you are when you get the immunization.
- Is not a live vaccine, this means the vaccine is appropriate for nearly ALL patients.
- Recommended by the Immunization Action Coalition for patients over age 50.
- Two immunizations are needed, dose two is 2-6 months after dose one.
- Coverage is about 97% !! This is why it is recommended that even those that already got Zostavax still get Shingrix.
As a reminder, approximately 1 in 3 people will experience shingles in their lifetime. Shingles is a viral infection of the nerve cells, caused by the same virus that causes Chicken Pox. The infection results in a painful rash that can last for several weeks. Some people end up with scarring of the nerves that results in lingering pain (Post Herpetic Neuralgia) that can last even after the rash goes away.
Shingrix is fully stocked in all of our pharmacies and we have been providing vaccinations to many patients this year already. If you are over age 50, stop in and talk to any of our pharmacy staff at your convenience and we will make sure you are protected against shingles.
Jason Miller, Pharm. D.
Pharmacy Clinical Program Mgr
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