Preventing shingles in older adults: how effective and safe is vaccination? A new Cochrane review

  Key Message:Herpes zoster vaccine is effective in preventing shingles, with people aged 60 to 69 years benefitting more than older people but also experiencing more side effects. In general, the vaccine is well tolerated and most side effects are mild to moderate reactions at the injection site.  

Herpes zoster or ‘shingles’ is a painful condition, arising from the reactivation of varicella zoster virus, the virus that causes chicken pox. Older adults are particularly susceptible to shingles, which can last for weeks or months and have a significant impact on quality of life. A new review from the Cochrane Acute Respiratory Infections Group evaluated the effectiveness and safety of vaccination to prevent herpes zoster in adults aged sixty and over. The review includes eight randomized controlled trials with more than 52,000 participants but the main outcomes on effectiveness and safety come from the Shingles Prevention Study, a large trial with 38,546 participants, who were followed up for over three years. Continue reading

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