New Shingles Vaccine More Effective Than Older One, But With One Drawback

New Shingles Vaccine More Effective Than Older One, But With One Drawback

A new shingles vaccine that was approved last year is significantly more effective than a vaccine that has been available since 2006, but comes with one drawback: It has a greater risk of adverse effects at the injection site.

Shingrix, the new vaccine, is 85% more effective in reducing cases of herpes zoster — another name for shingles — compared to Zostavax, according to a new review of studies. The analysis, published in the BMJ, covered more than 2 million people 50 years and older. Both vaccines are indicated for that age group.

However, compared to Zostavax, the Shingrix vaccine was associated with a 30% higher rate of adverse events at the injection site, such as redness or swelling. However, there was no difference in serious adverse events between Shingrix and Zostavax.

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) considers Shingrix the “preferred shingles vaccine.” It is given as two doses, spaced between two and six months apart.


Jonathan Block

Jonathan Block

Jonathan Block is a freelance writer and former MedShadow content editor. He has been an editor and writer for multiple pharmaceutical, health and medical publications, including BioCentury, The Pink Sheet, Modern Healthcare, Health Plan Week and Psychiatry Advisor. He holds a BA from Tufts University and is earning an MPH with a focus on health policy from the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health & Health Policy.


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