Herpes Zoster Vaccine: Canadian Immunization Guide
For health professionals
Last complete revision:
July 2018 This chapter was revised to reflect NACI’s Updated Recommendations on the Use of Herpes Zoster Vaccines. Most sections were revised to include information and practice recommendations for the new recombinant zoster vaccine which is now available in Canada. Changes include:
- Recommendations for use in different populations.
- Contraindications and precautions.
- Administration of the HZ vaccines: Table 1 was added to summarize key information.
- Considerations on the efficacy, effectiveness and immunogenicity of HZ vaccines: Table 2 was added to summarize key information.
- Vaccine safety and adverse events.
First A Primer On Herpes Zoster
Herpes zoster is another word for shingles, i.e. an outbreak of a rash or blisters on the skin. It’s triggered by the same virus that causes chickenpox, the varicella-zoster virus, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke says. For the record: This is not the same thing as genital herpes or oral herpes those two conditions are caused by different herpes viruses.
How Long Does Shingles Last
From the time you begin to feel symptoms until the rash has totally disappeared can take three to five weeks.
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Shingles Vaccination What You Should Know:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends shingles vaccine for people 60 years of age and older. This is a one-time vaccination to prevent shingles. There is no maximum age for getting the shingles vaccine.
Anyone 60 years of age or older should get the shingles vaccine, regardless of whether they recall having had chickenpox or not. Studies show that more than 99% of Americans ages 40 and older have had chickenpox, even if they dont remember getting the disease.
Your risk for getting shingles begins to rise around age 50. However, shingles vaccine is only recommended for persons age 60 and older because the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine have only been studied in this age group.
Even if you have had shingles, you can still receive the shingles vaccine to help prevent future occurrences of the disease. There is no specific time that you must wait after having shingles before receiving the shingles vaccine. The decision on when to get vaccinated should be made with your healthcare provider. Generally, a person should make sure that the shingles rash has disappeared before getting vaccinated.
I’m Pregnant And Have Recently Been Exposed To Someone With Chickenpox How Will This Exposure Affect Me Or My Pregnancy
- Susceptible pregnant women are at risk for associated complications when they contract varicella. Varicella infection causes severe illness in pregnant women, and 10%-20% of those infected develop varicella pneumonia, with mortality reported as high as 40%.
- Because of these risks, pregnant women without evidence of immunity to varicella who have been exposed to the virus may be given varicella-zoster immune globulin to reduce their risk of disease complications.
- If you are pregnant and have never had chickenpox, and you get chickenpox during the:
- First half of your pregnancy, there is a very slight risk for birth defects or miscarriage.
- Second half of your pregnancy, the baby may have infection without having any symptoms and then get shingles later in life.
- Newborns whose mothers develop varicella rash from 5 days before to 2 days after delivery are at risk for neonatal varicella, associated with mortality as high as 30%. These infants should receive preventive treatment with varicella-zoster immune globulin .
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Can You Get Chickenpox If You’ve Been Vaccinated
Yes. About 15% 20% of people who have received one dose of varicella vaccine do still get chickenpox if they are exposed, but their disease is usually mild. Vaccinated persons who get chickenpox generally have fewer than 50 spots or bumps, which may resemble bug bites more than typical, fluid-filled chickenpox blisters. In 2006, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted to recommend routine two-dose varicella vaccination for children. In one study, children who received two doses of varicella vaccine were three times less likely to get chickenpox than individuals who have had only one dose.
Is The Shingles Vaccine Worth It
Yes. Although many people are able to recover from shingles without any lasting problems, up to 30% of people go on to have postherpetic neuralgia. Approximately 18% of people have other long-term issues, including:
The vaccine is highly effective at preventing both shingles and its complications.
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Persons With Chronic Diseases
Although definitive data are lacking, individuals with autoimmune disease not being treated with immunosuppressive drugs are not considered significantly immunocompromised. Individuals 50 years of age without contraindications should receive RZV.
How Are Shingles And Herpes Treated
Neither condition can be cured, but treatments are available.
Shingles is treated with both antiviral prescription medications that can speed up your healing and with medications that can help with your pain. Your exact treatment plan will depend on how severe your case is, your overall health, and the medications you already take.
Antiviral options include:
Herpes is also treated with antiviral medication.
Antivirals can help you heal first and reduce your symptoms. Depending on your case and your overall health, you might take these medications during an outbreak or daily.
Options for herpes treatment include both acyclovir and valacyclovir.
Some other pain management options may include:
- numbing patches, gels, or creams you can apply to your skin
- codeine or other narcotic medications
- steroid injections
- anticonvulsants or antidepressants that can control pain
Talk to a doctor about the use of any of the treatments above. These treatments should not be used without guidance by a medical professional so that you can help avoid any unintended side effects, such as allergic reactions.
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Herpes Virus Infects Billions Of People Worldwide Why Isn’t There A Vaccine Yet
Billions of people around the world are living with herpes infections, prompting the World Health Organization to call for a vaccine against the incurable virus.
About half a billion people ages 15 to 49 have genital herpes infections, which are mostly caused by herpes simplex virus type 2, which can raise the risk of HIV. Herpes infections can lead to recurring, often painful, blisters. Genital herpes infections plays a significant role in the spread of HIV globally, WHO researchers said in a report released May 1.
In 2016, two-thirds of the world’s population under 50 about 3.7 billion people had herpes simplex virus type 1, which most commonly appears as cold sores in or around the mouth, according to WHO.
“A vaccine against HSV infection would not only help to promote and protect the health and wellbeing of millions of people, particularly women, worldwide, it could also potentially have an impact on slowing the spread of HIV,” Dr. Meg Doherty, director of the WHO’s global HIV, hepatitis and sexually transmitted infections programs, said in a statement.
Most cases of genital herpes involve HSV-2, WHO researchers reported. HSV-1 is usually spread by kissing, but it can also be transmitted to the genital area through oral sex. As many as 192 million people worldwide have genital HSV-1 infections.
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Antiviral treatments can reduce outbreaks of genital herpes, but they aren’t a cure.
Is Herpes Actually A Risk Of The Covid
Okay, so what does this all have to do with the COVID vaccine? The long and short of it is nothing, really, unless you’ve already been infected with any of the herpes viruses – and even more so if you’re immunocompromised, as well.
Both types of herpes viruses discussed here are known to be triggered during times of stress. As with all vaccines, the COVID vaccine causes an immune response – which is essentially a stress response – since your body is coping with and building a defense against invaders. The vaccination could be enough to prompt a reaction or outbreak in people who already have the herpes virus – and it seems to be more of a risk for people who also have a lowered immunity due to AIIRD or other autoimmune conditions in addition to an existing herpes infection. Again, there’s no way for the vaccine to cause herpes it only has the potential to reactivate it if you already have the virus in your body.
And that’s not because the COVID-19 vaccine is doing anything notably crazy to your body. Other common physical and mental stressors – from having a common cold to going through a rough patch at work or a break-up – are thought to be enough to trigger this sort of reactivation in both herpes zoster and simplex, according to research.
“We should not scare people,” Dr. Furer told the outlet. “The overall message is to get vaccinated. It is just important to be aware.”
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What Are The Complications Of Shingles
After the shingles rash has disappeared, you might continue to have nerve pain in that same area. This pain, called postherpetic neuralgia, can last for months or years and become quite severe.
About 10% to 15% of people who get shingles develop postherpetic neuralgia. Researchers dont know why some people get postherpetic neuralgia and others dont. It may be that nerves become more sensitive or the virus may be invading and damaging the central nervous system.
Other complications include other types of nerve issues like numbness or itching, bacterial infection of the shingles rash, and eye and ear inflammation if the rash is near these organs.
Can I Get Shingles If I Havent Had Chickenpox
No. You cant get shingles if youve never had chickenpox, but you can get chickenpox from someone who has shingles. If youve never had chickenpox and you come into direct contact with the oozing, blister-like rash of someone with shingles, the varicella-zoster virus can infect you and you would develop chickenpox.
Once youve had chickenpox, you could develop shingles at some point in your life. This is because the varicella-zoster virus never fully goes away after youve had chickenpox. It lies quietly inactive in your nerve tissue. Later in life, the virus may become active again and appears as shingles.
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Who Is At Risk For Getting Shingles
People who have had chickenpox who are more likely to develop shingles include:
- People with a weakened immune system .
- People over the age of 50.
- People who have been ill.
- People who have experienced trauma.
- People who are under stress.
After having chickenpox, your body does not rid your system of the virus. Instead, the virus stays in a portion of the spinal nerve root called the dorsal root ganglion. For the majority of people, the virus stays there quietly and doesn’t cause problems. We aren’t always sure why the virus gets reactivated, but this typically occurs at times of stress.
A Closer Look At The Safety Data
Both Shingrix and Zostavax shingles vaccines have been shown to be safe and well tolerated. Common side effects, such as soreness and redness at the injection site, are usually mild to moderate in intensity and resolve quickly on their own.
In 8 clinical trials of more than 10,000 participants:
- Grade 3 reactions were common after patients received Shingrix.
- About 1 out of 10 adults who received Shingrix reported grade 3 injection-site symptoms such as pain, redness, and swelling.
- About 1 out of 10 reported grade 3 systemic reactions such as myalgia , fatigue , headache, shivering, fever, and gastrointestinal illness.
- Most people who got Shingrix reported at least some pain at the injection site.
- A 2013 study showed that patients with a history of a previous shingles rash had the same side effects after Zostavax as those with no history of shingles. See Safety of zoster vaccine in elderly adults following documented herpes zosterexternal icon.
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Side Effects Of The Shingles Vaccine: Is It Safe
If you had chickenpox as a child, the virus hasnt completely gone away. It hides dormant in your body and can reemerge many years later as shingles.
About 1 in 3 people in the United States will develop shingles in their lifetime. This is why vaccination is important. But you should also be prepared for possible side effects. In this article, well discuss the side effects, and talk about who should get the vaccine.
Older adults are most likely to develop shingles. This is why the shingles vaccine is recommended for people ages 50 and older.
Shingrix is the only shingles vaccine approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration .
The Shingrix vaccine is a recombinant vaccine. This means vaccine manufacturers created it by altering and purifying DNA that creates an immune response to fight the virus.
The CDC recommends Shingrix for the prevention of shingles and related complications. The Shingrix vaccine is also recommended for anyone who has already gotten another type of shingles vaccine.
Currently, the CDC recommends healthy people ages 50 and older get the Shingrix vaccine. Doctors administer the vaccine in two doses, which are given 2 to 6 months apart.
The Shingrix vaccine has high success rates in protecting people against shingles.
The Shingrix vaccine is as much as effective in preventing shingles. The same is true for Shingrix and postherpetic neuralgia.
Are There Natural Ways To Boost The Immune System To Help Lessen The Chances Of Developing Shingles
Stress is a risk factor for developing shingles. So limiting your stress can be helpful. Try meditation, yoga or other relaxation methods. Eat healthy, maintain a healthy weight, exercise regularly, get seven to nine hours of sleep each night, dont smoke these are all good living tips, not just for reducing your chance of getting shingles, but also many other diseases and health conditions too.
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Is The Zostavax Vaccine Still Being Used
Yes. It is still recommended for preventing shingles and postherpetic neuralgia in healthy people age 50 and older. Zostavax is given as a single-dose shot versus the two-dose shot for Shingrix. Zostavax is less effective than Shingrix in preventing shingles and postherpetic neuralgia .
Zostavax can be considered if you are allergic to Shingrix or if Shingrix is unavailable due to supply shortage and you want some immediate protection from a possible case of shingles and/or postherpetic neuralgia. Because it is a weakened live vaccine, it may be dangerous if you have cancer, HIV, or take steroids, chemotherapy or other medications that suppress your immune system. Ask your healthcare provider if the Zostavax vaccine is an option for you.
What Are The Extra Costs
If you receive this vaccination at your local doctors office, then an office examination fee may be applied on top of the vaccine, often increasing the price by more than $100. This will all depend on the doctor office fees.
A booster shot could be required in the future this will all depend on the patients situation.
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Can The Shingles Vaccine Cause A Genital Herpes Outbreak
- 13 Nov 2014 by artsyrsc
- 22 July 2021
- herpes simplex – suppression, herpes zoster, acyclovir, herpes, vaccine
I got my vaccine on a Friday, felt headachy and rundown all weekend. By Tuesday I was getting an outbreak. I hadn’t had one in a pretty long time and I take acyclovir when I do. Coincidence or a side effect of the vaccine?
I had my very first herpes outbreak right after I received the shingles injection a year and a half ago. I have had 2 more outbreaks since then. I have been married for over 30 years … faithful in marriage. My husband and I were both in shock. He questioned if my shingles injection could have triggered the outbreak. I found this site and based on so many of the responses, find it very suspicious. Yes, I definitely think the shingles injection caused my initial, and subsequent outbreaks.
I had 5 or 6 outbreaks after the first injection for shingles, and that was after years of just one mild outbreak a year. These outbreaks were very painful and I was already on suppressive therapy. I spoke with my doctor and she explained that most vaccines lower your immunity and that was much more likely the cause so for 2nd injection she had me start acyclovir a week in advance and had me stay in it for another 7 days, I did have one outbreak but treated with more acyclovir and have been fine. I stopped suppressive therapy after reading hair loss can be a side effect of the drug and was having issues with that too.