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Health & Nutrition

Shingles Vaccines

Shingled is caused by the herpes virus, it is reactivation of chickenpox on people who either had the childhood disease or the vaccine. Cannot catch it from others as it is not contagious. Shingles have gone up since 1995 when the chickenpox vaccine became routine for children. Over 50% of the cases happen after 85 years old, likelihood of the disease before then is 20-30%. Effects one side of the body or face, only once in lifetime for most people, seldom twice and very unlikely 3 times. Less likely occurs in blacks than whites. The shingles last for a few days and scab up and goes away in 2-4 weeks. Before occurrence, general headache and sensitivity to light. Can cause sever pain and patchy redness. In some people pain can last for months from the damage to the nerves but goes away in 85% of the cases after one year. In 2-3% it can be additional pain and complications.

  • Shingles vaccine: If getting the vaccine, definitely should get the new one, shingrix that requires 2 doses, usually 2-6 months apart. It is a deactivated virus while the old one is a live virus and does not work as well or provide long term immunity. the old vaccine did not work as well and did not provide long term immunity, it was called zostavax, it was live virus while shingrix is not).  
  • Should really get it after 60 years old as neither vaccine lasts forever, in fact, after 4 years the protection is a lot less and gradually goes down.
    – Most cases of shingles happen after age 60 & 70 with the most after 85 years old. Chances of getting it if you had chicken pox or vaccine of it is about 20-30% (~10% even with vaccine, after 70), usually lasts for up to 4 weeks (one side of body) only once in lifetime, rarely 2 and even less likely 3 times.
  • Most people don’t have long lasting effects (only 2-3 % would) from Shingles. People with compromised immune systems are obviously at higher risk. 
  • This doctor says he is not getting it and is not planning to but for Mehran with diabetes, I am not sure. There are some really horrible symptoms and pain associated with a small group of people who get shingles and some people suffer with it for a long time into old age. 
    On the other hand, there seems to be a really bad reaction especially to the new vaccine for a few days (serious up to 10%) and a few rare (3 patients lost eye sight, problems with inflammation, some give anti inflammatory after vaccination, I want to look at that) but bad side effects up to 50 days after getting the vaccine. So you have to weigh the risks and decide.
  • Side effects of shingrix can be uncomfortable, between 1 out of 10-20 will have local and systemic reactions; muscle pain, fever, headache, Gi problems and a few have had serious problems up to 50 days after the vaccine. (3 cases of: Ischemic optic neuropathy is damage of the optic nerve caused by a blockage of its blood supply. Blockage can occur with inflammation of the arteries (called arthritic, typically as part of a disorder called giant cell arteritis) or without inflammation of the arteries (called nonarthritic).)
  • Effectiveness, of 1000 people 1 from vaccinated and 10 from not vaccinated got shingles, with 18 people having complications in 10K people not vaccinated compare to none in vaccinated.
  •  In the UK, they stopped immunizing children for chickenpox as they think the reason shingles are going up is that children are vaccinated for chickenpox. They do not get lifetime immunity that they would get with actually getting the disease and also older people don’t get a kind of booster shot by having kids running around with chicken pox!

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