There’s been a huge breakthrough with a new vaccine that offers additional protection against shingles in those over the age of 50! Shingles is caused by the same virus that causes chicken pox and once you’re infected, the virus stays in your body forever. Every year, about 1 million people get shingles which is a painful blistering rash and can cause a complication called post-herpetic neuralgia where the pain can last long after the rash clears.
One way to decrease your chances of getting shingles and resulting complications is to be vaccinated. The traditional vaccine (Zostavax) uses a live but weakened version of the whole virus and offers about a 50% decrease in getting shingles. The new vaccine (Shingrix), approved October 2017, uses pieces of the virus to give protection and is given in two separate shots, which offers a 97% decrease in shingles for those aged 50-69 and a 91% decrease in shingles for those over 70. Because of this, experts are recommending Shingrix for adults over 50 even if they have already been vaccinated with Zostavax. It’s also important to know that you can get the vaccine even if you’ve already had shingles to protect yourself from getting it again.