MINNEAPOLIS - A CDC advisory committee has recommended a new shingles vaccine for people ages 50 and over as a more effective way to fight the painful virus.
Take it from Dr. Frank Rhame, Allina Health Infectious disease specialist, who's written an article on the vaccine, called Shingrix.
“Shingles is a terrible illness. Some people are tortured by it for long periods of time. Months and months and maybe even a year,” said Dr. Rhame.
Shingles is the eruption of the chickenpox virus many acquired as kids, it lies dormant, and emerges in a painful blistery rash, often in a stripe, following a nerve. One in three Americans will develop shingles in their lifetime.
Dr. Rhame said the prior shingles vaccine wasn't as potent, and patients would lose protection after two to three years. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted in favor of Shingrix for the prevention of shingles, which comes in two doses, a non-live vaccine manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline.
“The old one was a weakened live virus, so we were nervous about giving to people with weakened immune systems,” said Dr. Rhame. “The new one is much more effective at producing immunity, we are talking 90 percent protection in all age groups, even the very old, and virtually no loss of protection over the first three years.”
One downside, according to Dr. Rhame, is a more severe injection site reaction, what he describes as an immune response, but worth it for his patients. He also plans to get the new vaccine.
“Oh, you are going to have to elbow me aside,” said Dr. Rhame.
People who have received the prior shingles vaccine can get the Shingrix vaccine as well.