Vaccine for shingles in adults
Although the site focuses on pediatrics, I thought it would also be appropriate to put information, very important in my opinion, that is more relevant to parents or grandparents.
Since shingles is a disease that causes significant illness, and since there are two vaccines against the disease, one that is in the State of Israel and one that is not yet, I thought it would be helpful to provide information on who, what and when should be vaccinated.
There is also a lesson here for living on a desirable subject versus a common one.
So what is shingles?
Does chickenpox sound familiar? yes.
The virus that causes chickenpox (and shingles) is called varicella-zoster and is one of the eight viruses in the herpes family.
The first time a person is infected with this virus he or she develops a typical disease that we are all familiar with, chickenpox.
After the initial infection this virus, like the rest of the family, remains latent (hidden) in the nervous system and then after many years can wake up and make a disease called shingles or zoster .
I mean, shingles is the second outbreak of the same virus. For the first time We got infected it is chickenpox and the second time It awoke in us it causes shingles.
What causes shingles?
A blistering rash in a belt like disposition, unilaterally, is usually accompanied by pain and a feeling of itching in the same area. See attached photos, usually the rash is more significant than in the photos.
Even after recovery and the rash disappears, in adults there may be pain left in the area where the rash was.
This pain syndrome is called post-herpes neuralgia, and is defined as persistent pain over three months after the rash disappears.
Its incidence is 10-13% of cases in people over the age of 50 years. not nice.
Severe and widespread disease, spread beyond the girdle, can occur in immunocompromised individuals.
Sometimes uncommon an outbreak of the virus can even be without a typical rash. It is very difficult to diagnose this medical condition.
Who is more likely to get ill with shingles and when?
Shingles is a disease of old age. Usually over the age of fifty. Incidence of over one million cases in the United States each year.
But theoretically cases can be seen at any age, even in adolescents, but those are the exceptions that testify to the rule. Recalls that in the current era children are vaccinated against chickenpox in the first years of life, and then the chance of shingles decreases even more (compared to a "wild" infection with the virus).
Why on a clear day there is an outbreak of the virus and shingles? There is usually no clear reason.
Over age, immunodeficiency is also a risk factor for shingles. The virus is more prevalent in people with oncological disease for example, as an expression of "weakness" of the immune system. Still, most cases occur in people over the age of 50 for no apparent reason and without a "hidden disease."
Is shingles contagious?
Shingles infects others much less than chickenpox. The only ones who can be infected by a person who has shingles are people who come in direct contact with the blisters of the sick person and who have not had or are not vaccinated against chickenpox. For these people this will be the first time they meet the virus and they will start having chickenpox.
In cases of widespread shingles (uncommon) the infection can be both in contact and in an aerial form.
It is important to remember and understand what I wrote earlier, that shingles can not cause shingles in another person because it is always caused by the awakening of the same virus that was in our body and broke out.
Is there any treatment after an outbreak of shingles?
Yes. Early initiation of antiviral therapy with one of the drugs that act against the virus can shorten the disease.
However, disease prevention is always better than disease itself.
Is there a way to prevent an outbreak of shingles?
What types of vaccines are there against shingles and what are the differences between them:
Made by MSD.
It is an attenuated live vaccine that contains the same strain of virus (attenuated live) that is in the vaccine for children of chickenpox. But in a much larger quantity.
The vaccine is registered for those aged 50 and over, although it is officially recommended in the State of Israel for those aged 60 and over.
At this stage it is a matter of giving one dose and the effectiveness is for at least 5 years.
The vaccine is given under the skin at the top of the arm.
This vaccine has been shown to reduce the incidence of shingles by about 70%.
Since it is an attenuated live vaccine then it cannot be given to people suffering from a vaccine suppressing disease.
The vaccine has no significant side effects.
The risk of transmitting the virus from a person who has been vaccinated to another person is purely theoretical, so there is no recommendation that the recipient of the vaccine stay away from families or other people after receiving the vaccine.
Made by GSK.
A recombinant vaccine, which is not live attenuated and has not yet been registered or arrived in the State of Israel.
In the United States, the vaccine is prescribed for adults aged 50 and over. The vaccine is given in two doses at intervals of 2-6 months from each dose.
The vaccine is given intramuscularly at the top of the arm.
This vaccine has been shown to lower the incidence of shingles by over 90%!
On the other hand, there is a slightly higher incidence of side effects after vaccination. The most common side effects are local, ie pain, swelling and redness at the injection site. Systemic side effects including muscle aches, fatigue and headache are much less common.
Among the benefits of this vaccine is the fact that it can also be given to immunocompromised patients and the duration of protection it provides is longer than the Zostvex vaccine.
So what vaccine and at what age is it recommended to get vaccinated against shingles?
I recommend anyone over the age of 50 to get vaccinated against shingles.
The U.S. Drug Administration recommends the Shingrix vaccine to anyone over the age of 50. This is the preferred vaccine.
So what to do in the meantime until the vaccine in question arrives in the country?
Get vaccinated with the Zostvex vaccine which provides good protection for several years.
Should anyone who has been vaccinated with the Zostvex vaccine need or can be vaccinated later on with Shingrix?
Definitely yes, even recommended.
Is it right to vaccinate someone who has had shingles in the past?
Yes, the disease may return and therefore it is recommended to vaccinate even those who have had it in the past.
How can a shingles vaccine be obtained in practice?
The recommended vaccine, Shingrix, is not currently available in the State of Israel. Anyone who can get their hands on the vaccine, in the United States for example, successfully.
In the meantime, and in light of the fact that this vaccine is expected to arrive in the State of Israel in a few years, there is room for people over the age of 50 to be vaccinated with the Zostwex vaccine.
Zostvex – Included in the drug basket in Israel starting in 2016 for people over the age of 50, with a deductible of 50%.
This means that every citizen over the age of 50 can receive the vaccine, regardless of supplementary insurance, at a reduced cost, at a price that varies from NIS 270 to NIS 340, depending on the HMO.
Practically, it is necessary to get a doctor’s prescription, purchase the vaccine at a pharmacy and approach the HMO nurses to get vaccinated.
So mom or dad, grandma or grandpa, go get vaccinated against shingles so you can only be healthy.