Newer Shingles Vaccine Is More Effective Than the Old One

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Results of a systematic review of clinical studies involving more than two million people suggest that Shingrix, a shingles vaccine approved by the FDA in 2017, is significantly more effective in preventing the painful infection (herpes zoster) but carries a higher risk of side effects than Zostavax, an older vaccine first approved in 2006. This research was published in BMJ.

According to the review, Shingrix, which is comprised of specific pieces of the shingles virus, is 85 percent more effective than Zostavax, which is a live vaccine comprised of a weakened form of the virus. But Shingrix causes 30 percent more injection site reactions like redness or swelling than Zostavax. There were no significant differences in serious side effects between the two vaccines.

Shingles is a viral infection caused by the reactivation of latent varicella zoster virus — the virus that causes chickenpox. It affects approximately one in four people, two-thirds after age 50. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that healthy adults 50 and older get two doses of Shingrix (the preferred vaccine), 2 to 6 months apart.

Sourced from: BMJ