If you are lucky enough to find this vaccine, there are a number of questions people have about it. The bottom line…benefits are huge and risks are small and short lived.
- Shingles is very common – 1 in 3 adults gets it in their lifetime
- The new Shingles vaccine protects earlier and lasts longer
- The older you are, the worse Shingles can be.
- The new shot can be more painful, but not nearly as bad as Shinlges.
- Your old Shingles vaccine may not still be protecting you.
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– What if I never had Chicken Pox? Most people who never visibly had chicken pox actually did get infected and carry the virus, just like those who had known chicken pox. For this reason, CDC recommends vaccinating everyone age 50 and over REGARDLESS of whether they’ve had visible chicken pox.
– Can they check my blood to see if I’ve had chicken pox and need the vaccine? An antibody test can be done, but measurable antibody levels often diminish over time. This does not mean we’re not protected. Its just that we cannot measure antibody levels that low with current technology. Because of these limitations of the test, CDC does NOT recommend testing for Chicken Pox antibodies. All people should be vaccinated.
– Is this a live vaccine? Can everyone get it? The first Shingles vaccine (Zostavax) was a live vaccine and could not be given to people with an abnormal immune system – e.g. people taking immunosuppresive medications, getting cancer chemo or radiation treatment, have immune deficiency disorders, etc. The new Shingles vaccine (Shingrix) is a killed vaccine and can be given to anyone, regardless of their immune issues.