Should you get the shingles vaccine? This article from Harvard Medical School reviews the pro’s and con’s.
Professor of Pediatric Infection and Immunity, University of Oxford on chickenpox vaccine causing shingles: https://theconversation.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-chickenpox-and-why-more-countries-dont-use-the-vaccine-63473
“…if chickenpox in children disappears as a result of a vaccine programme, adults would no longer have their immunity boosted by exposure to their chickenpox-suffering children and grandchildren and would be more likely to get shingles.”
Shingles (Varicella Zoster) vaccine is NOT a VICP covered vaccine (this is why it is not covered by Medicare part B).
Which means that if Mom or Granny suffer an adverse effect, you and she are on your own.
Post-marketing adverse event reports: 13,510 (data up to 2/13/2013)
More than 5% of reported adverse reactions were serious.
Be an informed consumer. Read vaccine ingredients, labels and manufacturer warnings here.
Note the 2014 required labels changes, to include “infections and infestations: Herpes zoster (vaccine strain)”with an update to the Patient Package Insert to include “Shingles” in the “What are the possible side effects of ZOSTAVAX?” section here.
Shingles sure is painful. If you had chicken pox as a child, you may benefit from an “exogenous boost” if you are repeatedly exposed to cases of chicken pox – thus, protection from shingles. Exogenous boosting exists, although not for all persons, nor in all situations (source: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0066485). Also, data has been collected to demonstrate that vaccinating children for chickenpox increases the risk of shingles in teenagers and adults (source: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/258350867_Varicella_Vaccination_Alters_the_Chronological_Trends_of_Herpes_Zoster_and_Varicella). Also worth a read is Gary S. Goldman’s 2013 review in Vaccine and the 1998 NEJM commentary.
Ask before you inject: Who do I call if something bad happens to me after this shot?
More than 13,000 adverse effects after Shingles Vaccination have been reported since product launch (click here for details) in 2006, and almost 85% of them have been in adults age 44 and over. There is currently no recourse and no recognition of these “events.”