The latest vaccine provides defense against painful condition found commonly among older adults.
If you or your family members are 50 years of age, and older, it might be time to get vaccinated.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, for those in this age group– including the healthy– should consider receiving the new shingles vaccine, Shingrix.
Previously, the CDC recommended a different shingles vaccine, Zostavax, as the leading shot used to prevent shingles. However, the recommendation only applied to people 60 years of age and older. The CDC still recommends Zostavax as an effective treatment for the disease, but now says Shingrix is a better alternative.
The new shingles vaccine and recommendations were strongly supported by the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices as they voted 14-1 endorsing the Shingrix vaccine for those of 50 years of age and older. Although the vote took place in October, the details behind the decision of the vote were recently released.
Shingles is a viral infection causing a painful, blistering rash on the body that typically clears up within a few weeks, but is known to possibly lead to prolonged complications like postherpetic neuralgia– a pain known to last for extended periods of time, anywhere from months to years, after the rash is gone.
Shingles, also known as herpes zoster, is caused by the varicella-zoster virus (VZV), which is known to cause chickenpox.
“After a person recovers from chickenpox, the virus stays dormant (inactive) in the body. Scientists aren’t sure why the virus can reactivate years later, causing shingles,” says the CDC.
It is highly possible that anyone who has ever recovered from chickenpox is likely to develop shingles, although the risk of developing shingles increases with age, close to 1 in 3 people in the U.S. will develop shingles in their lifetime.
The new vaccine Shingrix, or the recombinant zoster vaccine (RZV), is manufactured by pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline. The vaccine has caused lots of talk as the shot has already made a name for itself for its effectiveness.
The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices found Shingrix more than 90 percent effective in preventing shingles in adults 50 years and older during clinical trials when compared to Zostavax, which is anywhere from 38 percent to 70 percent effective depending on age.
AARP reported that insurance companies will be more likely to cover Shingrix after the CDC’s official recommendation. GlaxoSmithKline noted the broad coverage of the vaccine is expected to begin this month, giving you plenty of time to speak with your doctor to see if Shingrix is the best vaccine for you.Related: 9 Serious Illnesses Beyond Cancer