Shingles Vaccine Info.

Should you get the shingles vaccine?

This article from Harvard Medical School reviews the pro’s and con’s.

shinglesShingles 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:

Data has been collected to demonstrate that vaccinating children for chickenpox increases the risk of shingles in teenagers and adults (source:

Also worth a read is Gary S. Goldman’s 2013 review in Vaccine and the 1998 NEJM commentary.

Zostavax Class Action

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 can sue in court (unlike most other vaccines).

The very first lawsuit  was  filed by Jorja Bentley, a woman from Nevada who received the Zostavax vaccine in November 2014. Within 24 hours, she developed a headache, dizziness, and blurred vision. She continues to suffer injuries to her right eye and high blood pressure.  (Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas — Jorja Bentley v. Merck & Co., Inc. et al. — Case No. 161004102.)

A class action lawsuit against the maker of the shingles vaccine has been filed to represent claims by those who have experienced serious and debilitating side effects from this vaccine, said to cause the symptoms it claims to protect against. Lawyers at say, “Merck & Co. is battling lawsuits once again after its Zostavax shingles vaccine allegedly caused blindness, paralysis, brain damage, liver failure, and even death.”

Shingles Vaccine Zostavax Is Causing What It’s Designed To Prevent- Farron Cousins, Ring of Fire, April 19, 2017

Post-marketing adverse event reports:

  • 33,979 (data from 2006 when vaccine was licensed, thru  9/14/2017)
  • More than 5% of reported adverse reactions were serious.
  • There is currently no recourse and no official recognition of these “events.”

Professor of Pediatric Infection and Immunity, University of Oxford on chickenpox vaccine causing shingles:

“…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.” –

Nov. 1, 2017: New genetically engineered vaccine – launched in US

A new, genetically engineered vaccine for shingles has just been launched, and it contains a novel adjuvant, too.

^^The product insert says Shingrix should not be given to anyone with a history of severe allergic reaction to any component of the vaccine or after a previous dose of SHINGRIX.

“Each dose may also contain residual amounts of host cell proteins (≤3.0%) and DNA (≤2.1 picograms) from the manufacturing process.”
GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals 

How is anyone supposed to know if they are allergic to something that hasn’t been used before? Who knows what will happen when people are injected with a vaccine that contains residual DNA from Chinese Hamster Ovary cells?

Glaxo snags FDA approval for new, genetically engineered, ASO1 adjuvanted shingles vaccine, expects blockbuster sales (yahoo finance)… 

– ACIP now recommends that if a person was already vaccinated with Merck’s single-dose Zostavax, they are supposed to get GSK’s two dose Shingrix on top of the Zostvax they already got. ACIP recommends this even though the two vaccines have not been tested head to head and Shingrix contains a genetically engineered adjuvant never used before.

Be an informed consumer.

  • Read vaccine ingredients, labels and manufacturer warnings (linked directly blow).
  • Ask before you inject: Who do I call if something bad happens to me after this shot?
“ZOSTAVAX” Zoster Vaccine, Live, (Oka/Merck) (licensed in 2006)
“SHINGRIX” Zoster Vaccine Recombinant, Adjuvanted 

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.

written by: Jennifer Stella. Last updated: 11/7/2017