The Dangers Of The Shingles VaccineWhen people have had chickenpox, they are susceptible to getting a painful skin rash called shingles. This rash often comes with blisters. The chickenpox virus never completely leaves a person’s body. It will remain dormant in their nerve tissue as long as they live. When a person experiences extreme physical or emotional stress that breaks down their immune system, the virus can once again become active. It will move along nerve fibers and appear on a person’s skin.

Shingles will often start with a sensation of tingling or burning in a specific area of a person’s body. Within a few days the shingles rash develops. It is estimated that approximately 30 percent of Americans will develop shingles at some time during their life. This means that around a million people each year will experience the effects of shingles.

Person to Person Infections

Shingles cannot be passed on from one person to another. There is a chance if a person has never had chickenpox, and they come into contact with someone who does have shingles, the shingles virus could be transmitted to them. The person being exposed to the virus for the first time will develop chickenpox and not shingles.


In 2006, the Zostavax vaccine for shingles was licensed. During its clinical trials, Zostavax was able to decrease the risk of shingles by 50 percent. It was also able to decrease the pain and discomfort of people who still developed shingles after they were vaccinated. Zostavax works by introducing a weakened chickenpox virus into a person’s system. It is designed to stimulate their immune system, so they are better able to combat the disease.

Zostavax Vaccine Study

In order to study the Zostavax vaccine, approximately 38,000 people from around the United States volunteered to participate in the research. Half of the study participants were given Zostavax, and the other half were given a placebo. The participants were followed for an average of three years. Any indication of developing shingles was recorded.

The study results showed the vaccine was effective in treating shingles 50 percent of the time. It’s effectiveness became less with an increase in age. Some individuals who took Zostavax still developed shingles, but their pain was less and lasted a shorter time than the placebo group. Zostavax is manufactured by the Merck Corporation.

Those Who Should Not Get the Vaccine

There are certain situations where people should not get the Zostavax vaccine. Its use should be avoided by anyone who has a serious reaction to the antibiotic neomycin or any component of the Zostavax vaccine. A person with a weakened immune system resulting from AIDS or suffering from any other disease that affect a person’s immune system should also avoid the shingles vaccine. A woman who is pregnant or might be pregnant should not take the Zostavax vaccine.

Shingles Vaccine Risks

The Zostavax vaccine can cause serious problems with people who use it. The reactions to the vaccine range from moderate to serious. People have reported experiencing itching or swelling at the place on their skin where they received the injection. One person is seventy reported experiencing a headache. Some have experienced serious allergic reactions within a short time after taking the vaccine. People have struggled to breathe, had hoarseness, their throats have swollen, they’ve developed hives, had a severely elevated heart beat or experienced severe dizziness and more.

Mark Sadaka is a vaccine injury lawyer who represents numerous clients from around the country. Sadaka’s firm has the resources and expertise necessary to successfully handle these medically complex cases. Go to Vaccine Injury Help Center if you have a singles related concern.