Weeks ago, a blog post reported that the FDA had recently approved a new vaccine for Shingles. Now here is a post comparing the new vaccine, Shingrix, to Zostavax, the vaccine that we have been using. Shingrix is to be more effective than Zostavax, which only prevents about half the shingles cases in adults over the age of 60. Shingles affects those older than the age of 60 more severely than those younger and, 1 in 3 Americans will develop this disease caused by varicella zoster virus or herpesviridae. Shingles is caused when the body is reactivated with varicella zoster virus.
The CDC recommends that Shingrix replaces Zostavax. Zostavax is a live, attenuated vaccine which Shingrix is an inactivated, sub unit vaccine that uses an essential subunit of the virus, not the entire virus, to introduce to the body. Shingrix is 97% effective against Shingles for those ages 50 to 69 and 91% effective for those 70 and older. This is a great change from the studies that showed that Shingles only has a 51% effectiveness. However, both vaccines do wain over time in effectiveness but Zostavax effectiveness over time is 15% versus Zostavax’s 25%.
Once CDC directors endorse the committee’s recommendation we can expect to see Medicare and Medicaid covering these vaccines. By early 2018, Shingrix should be readily available for use in the United States.