Shingles and the Shingrix Vaccine By, Dr. Julie Schurr
They say that 50 is the new 30. Many women (and men) lead a life in their fifties that is active, complex and stressful. We are a generation of hard-working, world-travelling multi-taskers who often burn the candle at both ends. As a physician that often sees women over the age of 50 for their primary care, I have become acutely aware of the need for vaccinations as a strong component to a woman’s preventative care. I want to focus specifically on the new shingles vaccine (Shingrix)- a two-part vaccination offerred to patients age 50 and over.
Shingles (herpes zoster) is a painful blistering rash that occurs on one side of the body along a specific dermatome and caused by a reactivation of the chickenpox virus (varicella zoster). Approximately 1-5 days before the rash appears, a tender, itchy or burning sensation occurs along a specific dermatome. The blisters scab over in 7-10 days and the rash subsides within 2-4 weeks. You cannot give shingles to anyone, but you can transmit chickenpox to someone susceptible before the blistering rash scabs over.
Shingrix is the new FDA-approved vaccine that is 90% effective in the prevention of shingles, compared to Zostavax which was significantly less effective and whose protection waned over time. For this reason, it is recommended that those patients who received Zostavax still receive the new and improved Shingrix vaccination series, a one-time, two dose vaccine. It is estimated that 1 in 3 adults over the age of 50 will have a shingles outbreak in their lifetime and although that alone is enough to motivate you to receive the vaccine, Shingrix also reduces your chances for PHN (post-herpetic neuralgia) which is persistent pain at the dermatome affected that can exist for months to years after your shingles outbreak has resolved.
The vaccine is in high demand for obvious reason. Contact our office to inquire if a Shingrix vaccine can be reserved for you or access the link below to determine a pharmacy that has it in stock. Remember you will need two doses; the second is given 2-6 months after your first!