How Soon After A Shingles Episode Can You Get Shingrix?
In our latest question and answer, the pharmacist discusses how soon after an episode or outbreak of shingles you can get the shingles vaccine Shingrix.
How long after a shingles episode can the Shingrix vaccine be given?
Shingrix is the new shingles vaccine produced by GlaxoSmithKline. Per ACIP (Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices), it is now the preferred shingles vaccination, replacing the long used Zostavax, manufacured by Merck.
In regard to how soon after a shingles outbreak occurs can you get the Shingrix vaccine, recommendations vary.
The CDC (Centers For Disease Control) recommends the following:
"If a patient is experiencing an episode of herpes zoster, vaccination should be delayed until the acute stage of the illness is over and symptoms abate. Studies of safety and immunogenicity of RZV [recombinant zoster vaccine] in this population are ongoing."
In other words, the CDC recommends that patients can get Shingrix as long as a prior episode of shingles has subsided and residual symptoms have gone away.
Health Canada recommends a more conservative approach:
"May be administered to individuals 50 years of age and older with a prior history of HZ disease with at least one year recommended following the last episode of HZ."
It should be noted that studies indicate that the risk of recurrent episodes of shingles is low for first 12 to 18 months after an episode, mostly due to residual immunity. One study concludes the following:
"Such a low risk [of recurrent shingles within 18 months] suggests that one should evaluate the necessity of immediately vaccinating immunocompetent patients who had a recent herpes zoster episode."
According to the above study, it doesn't appear necessary to immediately seek the shingles vaccination after a episode of outbreak as the risk of it occurring again suddenly is low.
Nevertheless, it is important to speak to your doctor regarding the best time for you to be vaccinated in your particular medical situation.
For more information on Shingrix, see our other articles: