Shingles, or the adult version of chickenpox, can be painful, annoying, and cause you no end of difficulties if it returns again and again. Thankfully, a shingles vaccine has recently become available. shingles vaccine fights against the varicella-zoster virus, or VZV, the cause of both chickenpox and shingles. If you’ve suffered from the disease, you know it causes itching, tingling, and pain, and shingles can even lead to blindness and permanent scarring. The Zostavax vaccine, however, can prevent all of that.
But should you run out and get a Zostavax shot right away? Who should get the shingles vaccine, exactly? Well, it is recommended that those over 60 get the vaccine as soon as possible since shingles generally only affects the elderly, although anyone can suffer from the illness. If you’re under 60 and have a health condition that may make you more at risk of getting shingles, such as cancer, HIV, or a condition that requires you to take immunosuppressive drugs, you might also want to discuss the vaccine with your doctor.
Zostavax is also available for those who have already suffered from shingles. However, doctors recommend that you want at least two years after your outbreak before you get the shingles vaccine.
The bad news about the Zostavax shingles vaccine is that it’s not a one hundred percent cure. It does, however, reduce your chances of having a shingles outbreak by about 50 percent in those over 60. Tests have shown that it is 64% effective in patients between 60 and 69. There are a few side effects, including some swelling and tenderness at the injection site, a headache, and itching. At this time, it’s unknown if additional doses of the vaccine will help or not.