Ask the Nurse; Is There a New Shingles Vaccine?

July 12, 2018

In October 2017 a new vaccine for Shingles was approved called Shingrix. It is more than 90% effective in preventing the shingles. Zostavax only lowers the odds by 51%. Zostavax contains a live version of the virus. Shingrix contains the dead version of the vaccine and also contains a substance that helps fight the virus better. It will produce more antibodies.

The doctor recommends you get the Shingrix at age 50 when your chance of shingles increases. Its protection remains strong for at least 4 years, but researchers feel it will last longer. you should get it even if you are not sure if you had the Chickenpox. You should get it even if you have had the Zostavax, but should wait at least two months. It requires two doses to be given two to six months apart. The second dose is the most important.

Shingrix causes more side effects than Zostavax. The main side effects were soreness, redness, and swelling where the shot was administered. Some individuals reported headaches or felt tired or achy. The side effects are temporary and usually last for 2-3 days.

Medicare Part D will pay for the vaccine. Private insurance companies vary; you will need to contact them for validation.