Shingrix now available; better protection from shingles

Shingrix now available; better protection from shingles

Shingrix is the new shingles vaccine which was recently approved by the FDA. It is an improved vaccine for preventing shingles and its complications. Unlike its predecessor vaccine, Zostavax, it requires two doses to be given between two and six months apart.

It is a better vaccine because it uses recombinant technology plus an adjuvant. Recombinant technology means inserting the DNA encoding for the shingles virus into a tissue culture. The culture produces the protein antigens of the virus, but no living virus! These proteins are used to vaccinate.

The adjuvant makes the immune system respond better to the vaccine. This adjuvant (OS-21 Stimulon) is the same one used in the children’s malaria vaccine.

The new vaccine provides much better protection than the original, and is recommended for people 50 and older – regardless of whether they have previously received Zostavax. At this point, cost for both shots is $280. The main side effect is soreness at the vaccine site.

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