A herpes zoster vaccine is available. It is different from the chickenpox vaccine that children or young adults may receive. Adults over age 50 should get the herpes zoster vaccine as part of their routine medical care.
A single shot of the vaccine can cut the risk of getting shingles by about half. It may also help prevent postherpetic neuralgia and ophthalmic herpes.
Because the vaccine contains a live virus, it cannot be given to people who have a weak immune system.
Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. Recommended adult immunization schedule: United States, 2011. Ann Intern Med. 2011;154:168-173.
Chen N, Li Q, Zhang Y, Zhou M, Zhou D, He L. Vaccination for preventing postherpetic neuralgia. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2011 Mar 16;3:CD007795.
Wilson IF. Herpes zoster. Ann Intern Med. 2011;154:ITC31-15.
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