A new shingles vaccine, named Shingrix, was approved by the FDA on October 23 of 2017. This is the second shingles vaccine available – the first being Zostavax, which was approved in 2006.
Why is the new shingles vaccine better?
The current shingles vaccine, called Zostavax, is only known to prevent around half of all shingles cases in people over 60. Zostavax will still be on the market, but the CDC recommends Shingrix to be the preferred vaccine.
Shingrix vs Zostavax
Shingrix is a two-dose vaccination that is recommended for people starting at age 50, which is 10 years earlier than what is recommended for Zostavax. The benefit to Shingrix is that, according to clinical trials, it can offer 97 percent protection in people in their 50s and 60s, while people in their 70s and 80s can receive 91 percent protection.
What does Shingrix cost?
For two shots of Shingrix, you can expect to pay $280 for both treatments. Zostafax, the current shingles vaccine, costs about $213, according to the CDC.
Should I get the new shingles vaccine?
Even if you’ve received the Zostavax vaccine, the CDC recommends you get the new shingles vaccine (Shingrix). The level of protection that Zostavax provides is moderate and it declines over time. Zostavax’s protection reaches only about 35 percent, five years into treatment.
What is shingles?
Shingles occurs when the chickenpox virus awakens later in life. Nearly every adult over the age of 40 carries the chickenpox virus and the older you get, the more you are at risk of getting shingles. According to the CDC, about one in three adults will experience shingles in their lifetime.
Shingles symptoms usually affect a small section of one side of the body. Signs and symptoms may include:
- Burning, pain, numbness or tingling
- Sensitivity to touch
- Red rash that begins a few days after the pain
- Fluid filled blisters that break and crust
The first symptom of shingles is usually pain, which can be quite intense for some. It is common to experience shingles pain without ever developing a rash.
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