Importance of the Shingles Vaccine
Herpes zoster, which is also known as shingles, is a reactivation of latent varicella-zoster virus and is considered a “reactivation of chicken pox”. Shingles appear in a dermatomal distribution along the area of skin supplied by the nerve, which distinguish shingles from herpes simplex virus. A period of burning or pain commonly precedes the onset of skin lesions by several days. The pain is followed by the eruption of multiple grou
ps of blisters distributed along one or several contiguous dermatomes. Shingles is a very painful condition which can last for weeks or even months with postherpetic neuralgia. It can also cause blindness if the blisters are along the trigeminal nerve of the face. (American College of Physicians, 2012).
More than 1 million cases of shingles appear each year in the United States. The risk of shingles is higher in those who are older than 50. By the age of 80, one third of adults will get shingles if they have not had the shingles vaccine and have had chicken pox in the past. The shingles vaccine is readily available and recommended to all people over 50 years of age as it reduces the incidence of shingles by 50-60% and can lessen the severity and chance of developing postherpetic neuralgia pain by 70-75% (Dr. Larry Silverberg, 2017).
The shingles vaccine is a live, attenuated vaccine given in a single dose. The efficacy from the shingles vaccine is 5 years after administration and there are no current recommendations for booster shots. The shingles vaccine is contraindicated for those who are immunosuppressed or immunodifficient and for women who are pregnant (Dr. Larry Silverberg, 2017).
“Dermatology.” American College of Physicians: Internal Medicine. Philadelphia,
PA. 2012. p.29
Silverberg, L. Silverberg Surgical & Medical Group. October 18, 2017