Shingles can be a very painful and uncomfortable condition, and it is significantly more common than most people are aware of. There are studies that reveal that as many as one out of five people in America will get shingles at some point in their life. If a person has ever had chicken pox, then the virus, varicella-zoster, which causes shingles is present in their body, and it can be triggered at any time. Shingles is an infection of the nerves and the skin surrounding the infected nerve. Basically, any person who has had chickenpox is susceptible to developing shingles.
The shingles infection is characterized by a distinct reddish rash and substantial pain, and it can appear anywhere on the body that is supplied with nerves, including the eye. The heightened awareness of shingles has led to the development of a vaccine that is designed to stave off the infection; however, the vaccine has been met with mixed enthusiasm. In a time in which a number of vaccinations have been linked to occurrences of autism and other childbirth disorders, the public is a somewhat leery of another vaccine.
The shingles vaccine has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the European Commission; however, it is only approved for individuals age 60 and over. With age playing a significant role in the development of the risk and occurrence of this condition, the age 60 seems to be a reasonable age to have the vaccination.
While some people have already determined that it is better to take their chances with the risks than to take a vaccine with so many questions still hanging over it, some are willing to take steps to reduce the chance of developing the infection by taking the vaccine.
At this point, there are obviously some pros to taking the vaccine; however, many believe that there are far too many cons for them to feel comfortable.
- Prevents the occurrence of shingles in approximately half of those inoculated.
- Minimal side effects
- Even those who develop the infection after being vaccinated experience a less severe version of the infection.
- Some believe that the 50 percent effective rate is too low when weighed against the unknowns about the long term effects of the vaccine
- No certainty as to how long the benefits of the vaccine will last
- It is the same vaccine as the chicken pox vaccine; however, it is 14 times as potent as the chicken pox vaccine.
For some people, the fear of having to engage the excruciating pain that is associated with shingles, especially those individuals who contract the infection after the age of 70, it is worth any perceived or unknown risks associated with taking the vaccine. The challenge associated with this line of thought is that the vaccine is only 50 percent effective, meaning that an individual can take the vaccine, and still end up being one of the people who fall within the category of the 50 percent that the vaccine did not help.
The truth is that there are no cut and dry answer when it comes to this vaccination. Each person will have to weigh the pros and cons associated with this vaccine, and make a decision based on their own individual situation.
Much in the same manner in which the public is split on their opinion concerning the vaccine, doctors are also split. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is strongly recommending that individuals over the age of 60 consider getting the vaccination. It is also worth noting that the cost of the vaccine may not be covered by certain insurance policies.
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 shingles related concern.