Q: Is the new shingles vaccine really better than the old one?
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The previously released vaccine, Zostavax®, reduces the risk of shingles by over 50 percent. The now-preferred Shingrix vaccine series reduces the risk by over 90 percent.
The blistering shingles rash is very painful. Its most common complication is called post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN). PHN may last long after shingles has resolved, causing inflammation of the nerves, and is often even more painful.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends Shingrix for healthy adults 50 years and older. For those who have received Zostavax, the CDC recommends waiting at least eight weeks before getting Shingrix.
Scheduled two to six months apart, Shingrix is given as a series of two shots.
Speak with your doctor’s office about shingles prevention. If for any reason you’re not able to receive the Shingrix series, the CDC recommends the Zostavax vaccine.
Although Shingrix costs more than Zostavax, its greater protection rate more than offsets the extra expense.
—Matthew J. Goldman, MD, Family Medicine