Shingles (Zoster)

Schedule: There are two shingles vaccines, Shingrix and Zostavax. If you are age 50 years or older, you should get the 2-dose series of Shingrix vaccine even if you previously received Zostavax.

Shingles is caused by the varicella zoster virus (VZV), the same virus that causes chickenpox. After a person recovers from chickenpox, the virus stays dormant (inactive) in the body. Scientists aren’t sure why the virus can reactivate years later, causing shingles.

Almost 1 out of every 3 people in the United States will develop shingles, also known as herpes zoster, in their lifetime. There are an estimated 1 million cases of shingles each year in this country. Anyone who has recovered from chickenpox may develop shingles; even children can get shingles. However, the risk of shingles increases as you get older.

Some people have a greater risk of getting shingles. This includes people who

  • have medical conditions that keep their immune systems from working properly, such as certain cancers like leukemia and lymphoma, and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and
  • receive immunosuppressive drugs, such as steroids and drugs that are given after organ transplantation.

Most people who develop shingles have only one episode during their lifetime. However, a person can have a second or even a third episode.

Websites:

CDC website provides information and resources on Shingles vaccine.

Information for healthcare professionals

Vaccines.gov provides resources from federal agencies for the general public and their communities about vaccines across the lifespan.

Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia provides questions and answers about shingles from the Vaccine Education Center.

Immunization Action Coalition offers free information and downloads for healthcare providers, coalitions, and parents.

Personal Testimonial on Shingles

2014 Pennsylvania Immunization Coalition
204 St. Charles Way, Unit 303E York, Pennsylvania 17402
PH: 484-446-3040 FX: 484-446-3255 Email: Info@immunizepa.org

The PAIC web site provides immunization information for your general knowledge and is in no way intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding immunizations.

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