The new and more effective vaccine against the dreaded disease of shingles has been eagerly awaited in Spain, and has finally become available since August of 2022.

So what is it and what is better about the new shingles vaccine?

The disease

About 99% of people over the age of 40 have had chicken pox at some time, even if they do not recall getting the disease. The virus can hibernate for many years until, in about 1 in 5 people, it is reactivated, causing a burning sensation in one area of the body, followed by a rash of extremely painful blisters. If the rash is around the eye or ear it can damage vision or hearing. It can be triggered by advancing age, stress, illness, certain medications or anything that reduces immunity. 

The rash itself will usually clear after 3-4 weeks, but 1 in 5 people will develop post-herpetic neuralgia.

This is a persistence of the pain which can last months, even years and is a cause of great distress as it is often difficult to treat the pain successfully.

The older you are, the more likely you are to develop post-herpetic neuralgia, and the more severe it is likely to be.

The Shingles vaccine

The Shingrix vaccine prevents shingles 97% of the time, while Zostavax, the previously available vaccine is effective 51% of the time (and is even less effective with increasing age).

Who should receive the vaccine?

It is indicated for anybody over the age of 50, including those already vaccinated with Zostavax or those who have had shingles already. (Having shingles once doesn’t protect you from having it again).

It can also be given to those over 18 who are vulnerable because of low immunity.

How is it given?

It is given like a flu shot in the muscle of the shoulder. A 2nd dose is needed after 2 months. This single course will protect you for the rest of your life.

It is not a live vaccine and can be given at the same time as other vaccines.

If you have had the Zostavax vaccine already you should wait at least 8 weeks before having Shingrix. 

If you had the Zostavax under the age of 70 years and are not at high risk you could wait 5 years before having the Shingrix vaccine.

What about side effects?

These are usually mild and short-lived. The most common are soreness at the injection site, aching muscles, fatigue and headache. Rarely, some people can have an allergic reaction. 

How much does it cost?

Each dose of Shingrix costs 247 euros.

If you would like to book your vaccine please call Atlantic Clinic on 952 81 7425

Vaccines need to be paid for in advance as once ordered they cannot be returned. 

Dr Anthony Crichton-Smith

Categories: Uncategorised,Vaccines
Post by: Atlantic Clinic on 29 Jan 2023