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gailcalled's avatar

Info and opinion on new shingles vaccine?

Asked by gailcalled (54570points) January 26th, 2007
I have seen how horrible and painful an attack of shingles can be. There is a new vaccine out - very expensive and successful for 50% of users. Worth it? Anyone who has ever had chicken pox is a candidate for the virus.
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7 Answers

bird's avatar
You don't need to worry about shingles unless your immune system is compromised or if you are elderly. Reasons you might have a compromised immune system: AIDS, you had an organ transplant, you have a history of leukemia. Reasons you are on fluther and elderly: you are a very very special person.
bird's avatar
On the other hand, since it looks like you have had a history of breast cancer, judging from your other question, I would ask yourself two questions: What does my doctor think? and Am I the kind of person who likes to try out new medical advances or wait a few years to make sure they're okay. I'm definitely in the second category, and would wait 5 or 10 years before I went for an expensive vaccine that doesn't work for a big minority of the time.
gailcalled's avatar
Elderly is now a relative term; let me just say that I fall in the higher risk category. A buddy of mine just sent my college listserv a pic of her shingles..gruesome, painful, enduring...there is an advisory out for all - how shall I put this - senior citizens to think very hard about getting the vaccine..Perforce, as one ages, so does the immune system (w/o the severe isues of HIV/AIDS, organ transplants or blood cancer. Chemo for any cancer doesn't treat the immune system kindly.
gailcalled's avatar
FDA says that the serum is effective in prevention (not cure) for about 50% of aging population. Most of us have the dormant chick. pox virus hanging around in blood stream or wherever...so it is a crap shoot. That is what our Docs are saying. They tend to waffle more in this litigious era And 10 years from now I might have lost my marbles..or at least some of them.
theabk's avatar
I would check with your doctor of course, but I'd say it's probably a reasonable idea. You don't need to be severely immunocompromised to get shingles; stress and aging make it more likely and it's certainly not pleasant. There's also a possibility of longer-lasting pain and complications from infection. I think vaccinations in general are awesome, provided there aren't any specific risks - they give a little help to the body's own amazing immune system so that it can do a better job of protecting you. I don't know, I think that's cool...
Lawyergal's avatar

I plan to get the vaccine. Having a bout with shingles at the age of “just” 50, I definitely will go a long way to avoid a repeat— until then I wouldn’t have considered myself a candidate for the vaccine, but apparently a bad bout of flu combined with a heavy work schedule left me vulnerable and the episode started while I was a speaker at a conference standing on stage. It was like fire ants running up and down my spine and I couldn’t figure out what was happening! It lasted several days (especially since I was unable to get to a doctor for any anti-viral meds)—but was eventually diagnosed as a “classic” case of shingles.

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