Shingles Vaccine - For the Over 60 Crowd

This is the vaccine to prevent or reduce the symptoms of shingles that has been available for several years.

Have you or anyone you know had this vaccine? In a nutshell, I’m curious about any side affects that may have been experienced.

I’m considering whether or not to have it.

I’m 47, and have had Shingles.

Zostavax, the shingles vaccine, is about 50% effective at preventing shingles in adults. That is, in studies presented to the FDA for approval, half the subjects were given Zostavax and half a placebo. They were followed for three years. Half as many people who recieved Zostavax got shingles. Of those who got it, they had pain for an average of 20 days, while those on the placebo who got shingles had pain for 22 days.

So yes, it works, but it’s not anything near certain that you won’t get shingles if you get the vaccine.

The most common side effects are redness, itching, burning, warmth, bruising and swelling at the injection site, as well as headache after getting the vaccine. Allergic reactions are always possible, and may be life threatening (in other words, if you start to swell up and/or have trouble breathing, call 911). Fever, joint pain, muscle pain, swollen glands, hives or rash at the injection site or a generalized rash are possible, but uncommon, side effects.

More reading, if you like:

My husband watched his father suffer in his later years with shingles on his forehead. And so he got the vaccination a month ago.

Since then he has had a mild case of shingles around his waist. It must not be very troublesome as he has only mentioned it once.

I didn’t know there was a vaccine, but now that I do I can only say GET IT!

I had shingles when I was 25 across my torso, and if there’s a more intense pain I hope I never know it.

I had shingles earlier this year and it hurt like a mofo. But the pills stopped it dead in about two days. I guess I would get the shot if my doctor recommended it, but I wouldn’t run right out on my own volition.

My dad had terrible shingles that broke out the day of my college graduation, forcing him to miss most of it. He was in agony for a year. Get it.

Haven’t gotten the shot yet. It’s $240 and insurance won’t cover it, the fuckers. Suppose I should, though.

I am 63, had the shot last year, no side effects at all.

My doctor says it’s only recommended for people over age 60. I’m a gung-ho believer in educating my immune system whenever possible, and wanted to get it anyway; but she wouldn’t go for it. I’m going to show up with a little more research under my belt next time!

I’m not sure I understand how this vaccine could work. Our bodies have already met chicken pox, and know how to recognize/fight it. The bug has been in us all these years. . . what additional information is available in the vaccine?

Heh. My father tried to get it. He checked with his insurance and he couldn’t just head down to Walgreens and get the shot, it had to be administered by his doctor or they wouldn’t pay for it. He says, “sure, no problem,” and went over to his doctor’s office.

Slight problem. They don’t have the refridgeration unit required to store the vaccine. It’s apparently too expensive. And it turns out that the vaccine must be injected within 20 minutes or so of removal or it goes bad.

He calls the insurance company, who agrees that is indeed how the vaccine works. It needs special refridgeration until it’s ready to be used. He tells them that his doctor is unable to keep the vaccine in stock, but he could just go to Walgreens and get it, since they have their own nurse available to administer it right there.

They tell him he can’t use their nurse. In fact, if anybody but his doctor gives him the vaccine they aren’t paying for it. But they have a standard procedure for when this problem comes up. “No worries,” they tell him, “we run into this a lot. Here’s what we’ll do.”

Their plan: Ship the vaccine to the doctor who then calls my father when it arrives and he pops on down to the doctor’s office for a quick shot. All nice and neat, huh?

Well, no. See, they can’t say when the vaccine will arrive with more accuracy than two to three weeks. So all my father has to do is make sure he spends an entire week less than 20 minutes from his doctor’s office during business hours.

I think that’s when he gave up trying to get it.

I got the vaccine at Walgreen’s because my Dr. at the time didn’t have it. And my insurance did not pay. My wife’s Dr. had the vaccine and insurance did pay for her shot. Same insurance company too. We now have the same doctor, hers.

No noticed side effects for either of us.

I knew a guy who got shingles as a fairly young man (around 30, I think) - he went from a healthy, jogging, hiking, physically-fit guy to a guy who could barely walk with a cane. I don’t know how much pain he had with it; I just knew him when he was dealing with the aftermath of shingles and slowly recovering for years. I’ll be getting the vaccination when I’m 60.

One of the gentlemen at our senior center had shingles and said it’s the single most painful thing he’s ever been through. He highly recommends getting the shot and, thus far, his wife hasn’t had any side effects from hers.

I had the vaccine a year or so ago and had zero side effects (other than the tiny hole in my epidermis).

I’m 47, have had shingles twice. Get it.

That is WAY messed up, man. (Or woman.) Seriously.
Anyone going to tackle **TrueCelt’s **question?

Cuz I wanna know, too!

It may have triggered a rheumatoid arthritis flare for my mother (she had the worst flare she’s ever had, starting a couple days after the shot - yes, she reported it to VAERS). She also got shingles a year later. :frowning: Hopefully, YMMV.

So, the idea is that some people’s levels of antibodies against varicella decrease with age. This didn’t used to happen so often, it’s hypothesized, because small children catching the chicken pox would act as natural booster shots for adults, keeping them exposed to just enough varicella that their immune system keeps up the production of antibodies. Now that we routinely vaccinate children for chicken pox, there are not enough natural boosters running around, and the rate of shingles in adults is skyrocketing.

So it’s important, if we continue to vaccinate children for chicken pox, that adults be aware that they might need the vaccine for shingles.

My husband & I both had the vaccine and had no side effects at all. And our insurance company which the dr.'s office said would not pay did in fact pay about half. Now if only I could get the dr.'s office to refund me my money…