Shingles Vaccine

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Vaccination is the best protection against shingles and its complications. Shingles only appears in people who have already contracted chicken pox (varicella). Shingles is the result of the chicken pox virus being reactivated, as if chicken pox developed in a nerve. Shingles occurs at any age, but more frequently among the elderly. You cannot catch shingles from someone who has it. You can, however, catch chicken pox by direct contact with a shingle’s lesion.

The vaccine

Vaccination is the best protection against shingles and its complications. The vaccine is recommended for people age 60 and older. It is approximately 65% effective in preventing shingles, and this effectiveness is reduced with age. When shingles occurs despite vaccination, the risk of nevralgia is reduced by almost half.

Symptoms after vaccination

Some symptoms may be caused by the vaccine (e.g. redness at the injection site). Other problems may occur by chance and are not related to the vaccine (e.g. cold, gastro, headache).

Shingles vaccine is safe. In most cases, it does not cause any reaction.

Frequency Possible reactions to the vaccine What to do
Very often
(less than 50% of people)
  • Pain, redness and swelling at the infection site
  • Apply a cold, damp compress at the injection site.
  • Use medication for fever or discomfort if needed.
  • See a doctor symptoms are severe.
Often
(less than 10% of people)
  • Itching and warmth at the injection site

We recommend that you stay at the clinic for at least 15 minutes after vaccination because allergic reactions may occur. If an allergic reaction occurs, the symptoms will appear a few minutes after the vaccination. The person giving the vaccine will be able to treat this reaction immediately.

For any questions, contact the person giving the vaccine, or Info-Santé 811 or your doctor.

Last update: October 22, 2015 11:55 AM

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