This vaccine is important because it protects against Shingles, a painful skin rash also called herpes zoster infection. Each year, at least one million people in the United States get shingles. Shingles is more common in people more than 50 years of age than in younger people. It is also more common in people with weakened immune systems such as people suffering from cancer or in those taking drugs that affect the immune system.Shingles is caused by the varicella zoster virus (VZV), the same virus that causes chickenpox. Once a person has had chickenpox, VZV remains in the nerve cells of the body and can reappear years later causing shingles. Shingles causes pain, itching and a tingling of the skin and the person then develops a painful rash with blisters usually in a confined area on one side of the body, often the face or trunk. Sometimes other symptoms such as fever, headache, chills and upset stomach occur. The pain may be very severe and rarely shingles can lead to pneumonia, hearing problems, blindness encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) or death.
Review the vaccination schedule for those who start late on a vaccine or are more than one month behind.
No serious problems have been found with the zoster vaccine. In very rare cases, a serious allergic reaction may occur.
The best person to ask about this vaccine or any vaccine is your primary health care provider. Your provider can answer your questions and you more information on the zoster vaccine.Immunization is the best thing you can do for yourself to protect against shingles.