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Health Team

New shingles vaccine recommended for everyone over 50

Posted August 17, 2018 3:16 p.m. EDT
Updated August 17, 2018 6:26 p.m. EDT

— For many older adults, getting vaccinated for shingles greatly eases the fear of the painful condition.

Doctors say 99 percent of people age 40 and over had chicken pox as a child, and the related shingles disease could appear as they age.

For several years, the Zostavax vaccine has been recommended for people age 60 and older. The new Shingrix vaccine is intended for those 50 and older - in two separate doses, two to six months apart.

"So, we have a whole other group of people that's going to be eligible to receive shingles vaccine, which is a good thing," said JoAnn Douglas, the Wake County Human Services immunization coordinator.

Douglas says the vaccine is about 90 percent effective after two doses, which is great news for adults who want to avoid the painful disease.

Shingles can appear in painful rashes anywhere on the body.

The bad news is that the demand was outstripped the initial supply, but Douglas hopes that will change soon.

"We're waiting here, so our order is in ... I know that in other places and private practices and pharmacies are waiting for the doses to come," Douglas said.

Douglas recommends that everyone over the age of 50 get the vaccine.

"It is recommended even if you have had the other, the Zostavax. You should in fact receive this to get the complete coverage from the shingles," she said.

WRAL's Dr. Mask said there is no maximum age for the shingles vaccine. Side effects are temporary and minor and only last about two to three days.