December 4, 2017

New Shingles Vaccine Promises Significantly Better Results

If you or anyone you know has ever suffered from shingles, you don’t have to be told how painful and disruptive the condition is. Shingles is a rash that typically occurs on just one side of the face or torso. Blisters result from the rash, with scabbing happening in a week to 10 days. The pain can be severe and may last long after the scabbing clears up in two weeks to a month.

The key to dealing with shingles is taking the right steps so that you don’t have to deal with it. That means receiving a shingles vaccine. And our own Dr. Jon Stern, wants to spread the word about a new vaccine that is proving to be far more effective than previous vaccines in preventing shingles.

Shingles (medically known as herpes zoster) has responded fairly well to the previous shingles vaccine called Zostavax. Studies show that Zostavax was right around 50% effective in preventing shingles from developing. A recently released new shingles vaccine called Shingrix, however, is showing a prevention rate of 90% and also is proving effective in reducing the pain from nerve damage that can linger for a year or more after the visible presentation of shingles has disappeared.

Dr. Stern’s recommendation – as well as that of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, or CDC (see below) – is that everyone over 50 years old consult with their primary care physician to determine if the Shingrix shingles vaccine is a good choice for them. Why over 50? Because that’s the age range when the risk of getting shingles begins to rise.

About the Shingrix vaccine

Shingrix is distributed by pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline and recently was named by CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices as the preferred shingles vaccine for individuals 50 and older and for anyone who has previously taken the Zostavax vaccine.

You can learn more about Shingrix in this October 25, 2017 press release from GlaxoSmithKline.

Facts about shingles

Here are some things you should know about shingles as written about on the CDC website:

  • 1 in 3 Americans will develop shingles during their lifetime
  • About one million cases of shingles are diagnosed each year in the U.S.
  • Shingles cannot occur unless an individuals has had chicken pox or received the chicken pox vaccine
  • People with lowered immune system functioning such as patients with HIV and certain cancers are more likely to get shingles
  • While about half of all cases of shingles are seen in patients over 60, anyone – including children – can have this illness
  • Shingles typically happens just once to an individual, although it can return a second or third time
  • The actual condition of shingles cannot be transmitted from one person to another; however, the virus that can result in shingles can be passed on by fluid from the blisters in a case of active shingles
  • Common initial symptoms of shingles include tingling, itching or pain in the area where the rash will develop over the next several days

Our thanks to Dr. Stern, other dermatologists nationwide and the CDC for giving us the heads up on the new and highly effective shingles vaccine Shingrix.

#        #        #        #        #

DermSurgery Associates is a Greater Houston area dermatology practice offering cosmetic, surgical and non-invasive dermatology treatments and procedures with industry-leading physicians trained and experienced with the most current dermatology technologies and procedures. For more information, contact

DermSurgery Associates

7515 Main, Suite 240

Houston, TX 77030

713.791.9966