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The New Shingles Vaccine

Herpes zoster, the virus that causes chickenpox in children (and occasionally in adults) when someone is first exposed to it, is also responsible for shingles if the virus reactivates later in life. Anyone who has had shingles can tell you that it is painful and miserable and can last up to 3 weeks. In addition, if the shingles breakout occurs near your eye, it can be very dangerous to your vision.

The original shingles vaccine is called Zostavax by brand name. It is only about 50% effective.

There is a new shingles vaccine that will probably come to market in 2017. The brand name will be Shingrix, and all the studies look very promising. It is about 90% effective.

If you are over age 50 years or have other risks factors (such as a decreased immune system or certain medications), you might want to consider getting the new vaccine this year.

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