For those still thinking about the shingles vaccine

alisandeAugust 20, 2012

Here's an article from AARP:

Should I Get the Shingles Vaccine?

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Be very careful, this vaccine is a live virus vaccine, and a severe reaction can occur if you(or anyone you live with) takes corticosteroids(like prednisone) or any drugs that suppress the immune system - especially the TNF inhibitors, like Emberel, Humera and Remicade.

This AARP article doesn't mention this fact.

Check with all your doctors before taking this drug.

Here is a link that might be useful: List of drugs that interact badly with Zostavax

    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 12:43PM
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All of my doctors agreed that the vaccine was something I should do....I have had the suppressed immune system and the steroids but they all felt that it was important that I take it. You have to make the decision yourself but honestly I already have nerve issues and don't want to deal with the virus.

While reading articles on the internet will stimulate questions the go to place for answers should be your own doctors working in conjunction with each other.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 12:50PM
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I got it a few years ago and had not one side affect and my insurance paid for it.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 1:54PM
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Thanks for that information. I seriously wondered why my Dr told my DH that he should not take it. I had the worlds' lightest case of shingles at the time. My bout with shingles was what I thought was a spider bite on my outer eyebrow. Having had a bad spider bite before, I wanted it looked at and he chuckled and said it was shingles. The area was perhaps 1/2 inch wide and 1 1/2 long.... Less traumatic than the spider bite I thought I had. That was a year ago, and once in a while I still feel that soreness in that spot, but they were gone very quickly. We both have suppressed immune systems...his due to Rheumatoid Arthritis; mine due Diabetes and less than good kidney function.

Good luck with the decision making. It is a tough one.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 2:18PM
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My insurance doesn't cover it and it is $200..

    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 2:34PM
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Same as Lily -- had the shot, no reaction at all and my insurance covered it. Having known a few people who suffered terribly with shingles, it is very reassuring to know I will avoid it or at the least, have a mild case. I did have chicken pox as a kid.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 2:56PM
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Many people on the maternal side of my family had it..mother and her three sisters and all suffered. One aunt was hospitalized and lost some of the vision in her one eye. So I was more than happy to get it. Absolutely no reaction, not even a sore arm. It was given at the Rite Aid by the pharmacist.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 3:51PM
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This vaccine is the only reason I am looking forward to turning 60 next July.


    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 7:13PM
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I hate to take away your only reason for looking forward to your next birthday, Jodi, but last year the FDA approved the shingles vaccine for age 50 and up. ;-)

    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 7:29PM
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Hmmm, I asked my doctor a couple years ago and he said no, not until 60. But ... now that I know about the new-ish FDA ruling, I'll ask again. Thanks!


    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 9:09PM
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When the last thread came up, I looked around online and everything I saw said age 60. I winder if the insurance will pay if I get it at 50. I'll keep my eye on this topic.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2012 at 8:32AM
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Just did a search with my age and saw this-

People age 50 and older can now get Merck's Zostavax shingles vaccine, the FDA today ruled.

The vaccine already was approved for people age 60 and older. The approval is based on a Merck clinical trial that showed the vaccine to be about 70% effective in preventing shingles in the younger age group.

The study also found that even when vaccinated 50-somethings did get shingles, they suffered far less pain and far shorter bouts of the painful, sometimes disabling disease.

Why get vaccinated at age 50? That's when shingles risk shoots up. Before age 50, about two people in a thousand get shingles. After age 50, about six people in a thousand get shingles. A person's lifetime risk of shingles is about 30%.

My Dad is seriously ill, so I won't get it yet (live virus), but I will down the road.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2012 at 8:36AM
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My 21 year old daughter actually had shingles, it's not just an "old people" disease. My SIL (around age 63) had a case just this year. Since I had a kidney transplant and I'm taking anti-rejection medication, I've been told NOT to get the vaccine. Nor was I allowed any contact with SIL while she had "active" skin lesions. I didn't see her from January (time of transplant) until July-six months. I'll ask my doctors about getting it in a couple more years.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2012 at 8:49AM
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I had the vaccine this past June, my insurance didn't cover the cost of it but my MIL and SIL both had bad cases of shingles. When my Dr. asked if I wanted the vaccine I said yes. I am 58 and didn't have any reaction to it, no sore arm, nothing! I just knew I wanted to prevent shingles, if possible.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2012 at 5:38PM
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When I used the term reaction, I was not referring to an immediate reaction, like a sore arm, etc.
I was referring to the fact that anyone who is taking immune suppressant drugs. This is a live vaccine, and if it is given to a person who is taking any drug that suppresses the immune system, that person is wide open to actually developing a serious case of the disease(shingles, in this instance), simply because the live virus has been injected into their body, which cannot cope with any live viral infection(including an ordinary head cold).

There are many drugs on the market that are commonly prescribed, that disable the immune system(prednisone, for example).

I cringed when I read here that a live virus vaccine is being offered in Pharmacies to people who may not tell(or be asked) about medications that they take.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2012 at 6:24PM
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I WAS asked what meds I'm taking, and I said none except vitamins.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2012 at 6:34PM
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I can't wrap my head around this--I admit.

Shingles is caused by the chicken pox virus we have in our bodies, left over from when we were kids and had the disease (whether we knew it or not--DB had shingles this year and none of us remember him ever having CP)--so how is giving a dose of the LIVE vaccine going to PREVENT shingles? Logically, that seems to me to up your chances of developing the disease.

The information on this is, to my mind, woefully inadequate--they really don't know if one dose will do, or if a booster will be needed down the road. You know what that sounds like? That longterm tests haven't been done yet. That's scary.

And the contradictions--everything I'm reading says not to take if it you're on steroids, yet one person above was told to get it because she's on steroids? I know steroids are an issue, because that was how my brother got shingles--he was taking steroids for something else, and they lowered his immune system.

Look, everyone has to do their own research, make up their own mind--with the input of their medical support team. But I'm not sold on this yet. I do think trying to prevent or lesson the effects of shingles is important. I'm just not certain this vaccine has been adequately tested yet, nor do I understand how it could possibly work. I'll hold off until I'm certain of the safety and efficacy of this one.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2012 at 9:06PM
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The shingles vaccine isn't just 'live' - it's live attenuated which means that it's been weakened so that it can't cause a full blown illness. They are developed from a naturally occurring germ or virus, and they can cause an infection but not a serious disease. They make these vaccines by repeatedly filtering the virus through cell cultures until it's ability to cause the disease has deteriorated.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2012 at 10:09PM
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I got the vaccine as soon as I turned 60. That was over four years ago. No problems. I have chronic back pain - that slows me down enough; I didn't need shingles, too.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2012 at 10:59PM
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