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.