Shingles vaccine now available for more people
5/19/2022 by Robert M. Jacobson, M.D.
Mayo Clinic now recommends the shingles vaccine for people at least 19 years old who are or will become immunosuppressed. Mayo Clinic continues to recommend the vaccine for everyone 50 year and older.
The Shingrix shingles vaccine is not a live virus vaccine. It cannot multiply or cause harm. It works by teaching the body to make immunity against the shingles virus.
The shingles virus is dormant in most people. Shingles occurs when the immune system fails, letting the virus get active again.
Shingles can cause a nasty, painful rash. It can sometimes lead to a great deal of pain that lasts months. And it can sometimes cause blindness. For a person who is immunosuppressed, shingles can kill.
The Shingrix shingles vaccine series consists of two doses. People 50 years and older get these doses eight weeks apart. Those who are or will become immunosuppressed should not wait eight weeks. Instead, they should get the doses four weeks apart.
Those who previously had shingles are still at risk to get shingles again. They should still get this vaccine series.
Those getting a dose can get other vaccinations that are due at the same time. Those who are nursing babies can get vaccinated. We avoid giving the vaccine to people who are pregnant.
All Primary Care in Rochester and Kasson sites carry the Shingrix shingles vaccine. Call your health care team today to get up to date on your vaccines.
Robert M. Jacobson, M.D., is medical director of the Primary Care Immunization Program in Southeast Minnesota. He is a physician in Community Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine in Rochester.