Shingles Vaccine Underutilized
If you're a Boomer, it's a safe bet you had chicken pox as a kid. That means you're harboring the dormant herpes zoster virus that can wake up all of a sudden and cause shingles. Anyone who has ever had a bout with that disorder will tell you that you definitely want to avoid suffering with the extremely painful and contagious rash if at all possible.
Yet although there is now reasonably effective and very safe vaccine against shingles, a recent study showed that it is woefully underused. The Centers for Disease Control recommends the vaccine for people 60 and older, and Medicare will pay if you're over 65. Get your shot! Older people are particularly at risk of contracting shingles because our immunity to the virus diminishes as we age.
According to HealthDay, researchers looked at data from more than 193,000 adults 50 and older who received the shingles vaccine over two years. The study was published online April 23 in the "Journal of Internal Medicine." The findings showed that there was a small risk of redness and pain for about a week at the site of the injection but there was no increased risk for stroke, heart disease, meningitis, encephalitis, or other disorders.
In a Kaiser news release, study author Hung Fu Tseng, a research scientist with the Kaiser Permanente in Pasadena, said that his work "reassures the general public that the vaccine is safe."